Immigration Collaborative

Getting Off the Assembly Line: Overcoming Immigration Court Obstacles in Individual Cases

With refugees and other immigrants facing rapidly escalating challenges, the Appleseed Network released a major new resource to help new and experienced attorneys navigate the complicated U.S. immigration court system and save immigrants from deportation, exile and persecution. The new Practice Guide, titled “Getting Off the Assembly Line: Overcoming Immigration Court Obstacles in Individual Cases,” is a product of the Immigration Justice Collaboration of Appleseed. The Guide provides an overview of immigration court proceedings, as well as specific sections on working with clients in detention, obtaining client documents from the government, pre-hearing communications with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), dealing with interpretation and videoconferencing challenges and reporting immigration judge and DHS attorney misconduct. The Guide also provides several template and sample documents to assist attorneys in these cases. To learn more, please download the full report.

There are few things a lawyer can do more profound than helping an immigrant avoid deportation.
From saving a refugee from persecution to keeping a long-time U.S. resident from exile,
the professional and personal rewards are tremendous.

Yet there are a great number of challenges in immigration court,
a venue unfamiliar to many litigators and other pro bono lawyers.

This guide is intended
to supplement the basic rules and procedures of immigration court
with tips from experienced practitioners.

Selected Tips from the guide:

  • Ease into discussing traumatic events. Move slowly, take breaks – talking about trauma in detail can be incredibly hard for your client.
  • Preserve your client’s rights by making proper requests for documentation. File an FOIA even if your client indicates that s/he has certain documents. Consider documenting all attempts to communicate with DHS and start the process as soon as possible after the initial client meeting.
  • Consider the availability and impact of interpretation. Find out why we prefer simultaneous interpretation and how to evaluate your interpreter.
  • Know the challenges introduced by video teleconferencing. Learn why Appleseed finds video teleconferencing (VTC) significantly problematic. Check our tips for objecting to VTC and mitigating the potential disadvantages of VTC.

Sample forms and memos

Addressing immigration judge and DHS misconduct

In Assembly Line Injusticewe found a “deport-in-all cases culture” propagated by DHS attorneys in many immigration courts. This guide dedicates an entire section to reporting misconduct by immigration judges and DHS attorneys – from communication failures to unethical behavior to harassment and threats from the bench. Review options, identify next actionable steps and understand what to expect in the process. Read examples from expert practitioners who took action.


0 Comments

This Guide should help every attorney do a better job in immigration court—and encourage more attorneys to do pro bono representation in these courts.

Steve Schulman

Partner, Akin Gump

Media inquiries

Steven Schulman, Akin Gump 202-887-4071
Malcolm Rich, Chicago Appleseed 312-988-6552
Bert Brandenburg, Appleseed 202-347-7960

Appleseed Immigration Collaborative is a project of the Chicago, Texas, South Carolina, Nebraska and National Appleseed Centers and Akin Gump
Authors:
Malcolm Rich, Executive Director of Chicago Appleseed
Bert Brandenburg, President, Appleseed
Steven Schulman, Marla Axelrod, Andrew Casillas, Richard Cella, Nicholas Gregory, Amy Poyer and Rebecca Rosen. Pro Bono Counsel to Appleseed, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP


Children and deportation

Our collaborative is working to gather key resources for attorneys and advocates to protect children affected and impacted by deportation. As we collect Power of Attorney/Guardianship forms and reference links for each state, as well as tools relevant across the US and Mexico, we’ll post them below. Please bookmark this site and return often. To report broken links or share updates, please contact assistant@appleseednetwork.org.

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois

Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana

Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania

Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
Washington, DC
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming


Don't Be Shy. Get In Touch.

If you are interested in working together, send us an inquiry and we will get back to you as soon as we can!

Contact Us