EOIR Interim Rule

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On Oct. 18, 2019, CLINIC submitted a public comment opposing the interim rule reorganizing EOIR. CLINIC’s opposition is based on the rule’s formal establishment of the Office of Policy, relocation of the Office of Legal Access Programs under the Office of Policy, and authorization for the EOIR director to issue appellate decisions in certain cases. In our comment, CLINIC describes how the proposed changes may allow political considerations to influence OLAP operations and appellate decisions.

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The Justice Department put in place an interim rule on Aug. 26 that threatens the Recognition and Accreditation Program. This collection of stories illustrates why this vital program must be protected.

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What is an accredited representative? An accredited representative is a non-attorney who has demonstrated to the Department of Justice that they have enough education and experience in immigration law to provide immigration legal services. The purpose of the program is to improve access to justice by increasing the number of representatives serving low-income immigrants. Accredited representatives must work for a non-profit organization providing immigration legal services to low-income clients.

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CLINIC has developed a simple web-based platform for individuals to submit a personal comment in opposition to the EOIR Interim Rule. The comment is pre-populated with a sample comment but can be adapted. The platform may be easily shared via social media and is intended for agency staff & volunteers, clients, and allies.

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CLINIC has developed a template to help you draft a public comment in response to the Interim Rule reorganization the Executive Office of Immigration Review, or EOIR, which went into effect Aug. 26, 2019. The rule has profound consequences both on our system of laws and on people ⁠— people like your clients who depend on the Recognition & Accreditation, or R&A, program in order to access high-quality legal assistance. The rule will also allow political forces to shape immigration law and will guarantee worse outcomes for those navigating our immigration system.

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This backgrounder provides an overview of the Department of Justice interim rule published Aug. 26 that reorganizes the Executive Office for Immigration Review. The backgrounder explains how the rule works, the impact on our system of laws and the impact on human lives.

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The Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, or EOIR, issued an Interim Rule that changes its internal organization, the delegation of authority to adjudicate cases and appeals, and official position titles at the Board of Immigration Appeals, or BIA. The rule was issued on and goes into effect Aug. 26, 2019.

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The Executive Office of Immigration Review, or EOIR, released an interim rule on Aug. 26 that moves the Office of Legal Access Program, or OLAP, into the Office of Policy, which was created in 2017 by the Trump administration. OLAP adjudicates recognition and accreditation applications, funds nonprofits to expand specific immigrant population’s access to immigration information — such as the Legal Orientation Program for adult detainees, the Legal Orientation Program for Custodians of unaccompanied minors and the National Qualified Representative Program. The programs greatly expand access to legal counsel. CLINIC believes these functions should not be managed in a policy office that can be used for political motivations. The interim rule also allows the director of EOIR to decide appeals filed at the Board of Immigration Appeals if single board member cases exceed 90 days or if three-member panel cases exceed 180 days. A director of EOIR is an office administrator and not a judge. CLINIC believes this reassignment of authority violates due process and can be negatively influenced by policy.