EOIR’s Office of Policy is a new office created to centralize communications, data collection, strategic planning, and agency policy and regulatory review and development. The Office of Policy is a highly politicized office, and many troubling policies are widely believed to have originated from the Office of Policy. The Office of Policy plays an enormous role in the functioning of EOIR. Despite its outsize role, there is very little publicly available information about the office, its staff, its functions, or the office’s interactions with the other components of EOIR.
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EOIR’s R&A Program accredits non-attorneys to represent noncitizens before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which includes the immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Once accredited by EOIR, “Accredited Representatives” may only provide immigration legal services through recognized organizations, which are non-profit, federally tax-exempt entities.
An immigration judge may conduct removal hearings in person, by video conference, or by telephone conference. See INA § 240(b)(2), 8 C.F.R. § 1003.25(c). Increasingly, immigration practitioners, pro se respondents, and government attorneys have submitted motions to appear in court telephonically or via video themselves, to permit the respondent to appear in court telephonically or through video, or to allow witnesses to testify in court through either of these means.
On May 22, 2018, CLINIC requested statistics related to SIJS Petitions Form I-360, including approvals, denials, and revocations, from 2008 to 2018. On August 12, 2018, CLINIC received these disclosures.
Beginning October 2017, various media outlets, including the Washington Post, reported that immigration judges would be subject to new “numeric performance standards.” On April 2, 2018, CLINIC requested records on performance metrics for immigration judges from the DOJ Executive Office for Immigration Review Office of the General Counsel. On July 24, 2018, CLINIC received these disclosures.