Immigration Groups Sue Trump Administration Over Refusal To Close Immigration Courts

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☆ Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) Also Sued.

Immigration groups have filed suit against the Trump administration over the administration’s decision to not close immigration courts during the pandemic response.

In a lawsuit filed on Monday, the groups said that the Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review’s (EOIR) failure to suspend immigration hearings amid the pandemic puts migrants, their attorneys and government personnel at risk.

Excerpted from The Hill:

The suit was filed by the National Lawyers Guild, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Immigration Justice Campaign on behalf of four detained clients.

EOIR did not respond when asked for comment.

A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which was also named in the lawsuit, said “ICE makes custody determinations every day on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with U.S. law and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy, considering the merits and factors of each case while adhering to current agency priorities, guidelines and legal mandates.”

“EOIR is effectively forcing attorneys to choose between adequately representing their clients and jeopardizing their health; EOIR is also forcing detained immigrants to choose between their health and safety and their statutory, regulatory, and due process rights,” the groups said.

They urged the U.S. District Court in D.C. to step in and block the agency from holding in-person hearings for the duration of the public health crisis. On Tuesday, the case was assigned to Judge Carl J. Nichols, who was appointed to the court by President Trump.

The report pointed out that while most courts have suspended in-person hearings the immigration courts have only done so for those not currently in detention while requiring immigration lawyers to supply their own personal protective equipment.