Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)
- Primary Source: Full information about EOIR’s response to COVID-19 can be found on its dedicated webpage.
- Non-Detained Cases: As of July 6, 2021, all immigration courts are holding limited hearings, applying relevant federal best practices related to communicable disease. Check the immigration court operational status map or the automated case information portal for additional information. Updated guidance on health protocols taken at immigration courts is available here.
- Recognition and Accreditation: Organizations filing R&A applications may file them electronically by email to R-A-Info@usdoj.gov. DOJ will accept digital and electronic signatures on all applications regardless of method of submission, as well as electronically reproduced digital, electronic, or wet signatures. The announcement defines digital and electronic signatures and lists requirements; please review the requirements to ensure compliance. Applicants must keep original copies of all documents submitted by email and be prepared to produce them for EOIR upon request.
- Signatures: EOIR policy memo notes that it will accept digital and electronic signatures on all documents filed with immigration court and the Board of Immigration Appeals, or BIA. EOIR will also accept electronically- reproduced copies of documents containing digital, electronic or “wet” signatures.
- Filing by Email: On April 7, 2020, EOIR, issued guidelines on email submission of briefs, motions, and other court documents for immigration courts and for the BIA. A memorandum issued June 11, 2020, indicates that courts will stop accepting electronic filing and deactivate the email addresses 60 days after that court has resumed hearing non-detained cases. As of Sept. 4, 2021, filing by email is no longer accepted at any immigration court.
- Telephonic or Webex Appearances: Various immigration courts have issued Standing Orders addressing telephonic appearances and motions for continuances. Check the Operational Status Map to review the most up-to-date of local court Standing Orders.
- Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP): On Feb. 11, 2021, DHS announced that on Feb. 19, 2021, it would begin “phase one” of a program to restore safe processing at the border, and would “begin processing” those forced to remain in Mexico under the MPP. On June 23, 2021, DHS began "phase two" of the program, broadening its criteria for those eligible. Individuals previously placed in MPP are advised to review the registration process at DHS's website here. All individuals processed through this new program will be tested for COVID-19 before entering the United States, and must adhere to guidance regarding social distancing and face coverings. For more information, see the DHS announcement here.
- On Aug. 13 2021, a District Court judge enjoined DHS from terminating the MPP program.
- The judge stayed the injunction seven days to allow the Biden administration to appeal the decision.
- On Aug. 16, 2021, the Biden administration appealed the decision to the Fifth Circuit and on Aug. 19, 2021, the Fifth Circuit denied the DOJ's motion for stay pending the appeal.
- After the Biden administration sought an emergency stay of the injunction in the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court denied the application for stay on Aug. 24, 2021.
- Title 42: On March 20, 2020, the CDC under the Trump administration issued an order pursuant to its public health authority under Title 42, allowing DHS to exclude anyone from the United States — without regard for claims for asylum or the need of protection — to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into the United States. The Biden administration has continued to carry out expulsions based on this order.
- On Sept. 16, 2021, a U.S. District Court Judge enjoined the Biden administration from continuing the enforcement of the DCD's Title 42 order, with the injunction being set to go into effect on Sept. 30, 2021.
Check the automated case information portal for additional information.
CLINIC Affiliates: If you are a CLINIC Affiliate and need assistance resolving issues in a case, please contact our Training and Legal Support team by submitting a question to Ask the Experts at cliniclegal.org/find-legal-help/ask-experts. If you have exhausted your case resolution options for a pending case you can also contact our Advocacy team at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact advocacy if you are encountering issues in your practice that are not addressed by measures taken by federal agencies.