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The Advocacy section tackles problems faced by low-income immigrants and CLINIC member agencies that can only be resolved through advocacy, education, pro bono representation, litigation, and media. The section identifies legal trends and issues affecting immigrants and pursues responsive solutions. The section prioritizes its advocacy agenda in concert with its member agencies. It also collaborates with Migration and Refugee Services of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). At the national level, the Advocacysection focuses on administrative advocacy with officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). At the local level, the section supports the efforts of advocates working to combat state and local anti-immigrant measures. To increase representation to detained immigrants, the Center coordinates the Board of Immigration Appeals Pro Bono Project. Because documentation and media coverage of the human impact of U.S. immigration polices are crucial to advocacy efforts that seek to create a more just immigration system, the section documents and facilitates media coverage of the challenges facing immigrants served by its network. It also provides support to its member and colleague agencies engaged in media outreach.

Administrative Closure: New BIA Standards

By Debbie Smith

What can be done to temporarily stop removal proceedings while awaiting the adjudication of a visa petition, naturalization application, TPS application, or other benefit?  An individual in removal proceedings can request a brief rescheduling or continuance of the hearing or the administrative closure of the case.  The Board of Immigration Appeals recently revised the rules affecting administrative closure in a decision issued on January 31, 2012, Matter of Avetisyan, 25 I&N Dec. 688 (BIA 2012).

Volunteer Home Page

Thank you for participating in the BIA Pro Bono Appeals Project!  The benefits of your time, legal background, and research skills will have a significant impact on an immigrant who would otherwise face a complex legal struggle alone.

Step 8

Scan or fax a redacted copy of the brief to the Project

As part of this Project, we are continuing to develop our brief bank.  Therefore, we ask that once you submit your brief to the BIA, please send a redacted version of the brief as an e-mail attachment to or via fax at 202-756-5537.

Step 7

The attorney files the brief with the Board

  • Serve the DHS trial attorney with one copy of the brief.
  • File one copy of the brief with the BIA, with proof that you have served the DHS trial attorney with a copy of the brief.  (See Chapter 3.2 of the BIA Practice Manual for “Proof of Service” samples). 

    Step 6

    The attorney formats the brief in accordance with the BIA Practice Manual


    Please note the following essential practice points:

    Step 5

    Time to write the brief (Brief Bank)

    CLINIC provides full legal support for BIA Pro Bono Project cases.  We also have volunteer mentors from around the country who have offered to answer any substantive legal questions about the cases and offer legal guidance to our volunteers. Please contact the Project Coordinator at if you would like additional guidance.

    Step 3

    Attorney should contact his/her client and review the Record of Proceedings (ROP).

    The Board resets the briefing schedule.

    Step 2

    Once the attorney receives the respondent’s consent, the attorney files the entry of appearance with the BIA

    Upon receipt of the respondent’s packet, please review the documents to ensure the respondent consented to representation and signed the indigency checklist.

    Step 1

    CLINIC sends a packet to the Respondent requesting consent

    CLINIC will send a packet to the respondent that explains the BIA Project.  The packet includes: 1) a letter explaining the project; 2) a consent checklist; and 3) a notice for respondent to update us of any address changes.