On March 20th, immigration professors from across the country, including HIRC Director Sabi Ardalan and Managing Attorney Phil Torrey, submitted a joint letter to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which urges EOIR to develop and enact policies that address the COVID-19 crisis and its possible effects on immigration court proceedings.
The letter has four main proposals: (1) release individuals held in detention and temporarily close the immigration courts; (2) prioritize bond hearings and grant subsequent bond redetermination hearings based on COVID-19 as a changed circumstance; (3) facilitate video teleconferences and telephonic appearances by counsel and witnesses; and (4) temporarily stop the issuance of removal orders. These recommendations draw on research from both immigration experts and medical professionals that highlights the great risks COVID-19 poses to the immigration court system.
You can read the entire letter here.
Special thanks to Fatma Marouf, Professor of Law & Director at the Immigrant Rights Clinic, Texas A&M University School of Law, for leading this effort.