The Executive Office for Immigration Review, or EOIR, published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, or ANPRM, on March 27, 2019. The ANPRM seeks public comments about the possibility of changing regulations to allow limited appearances by representatives in immigration court, and whether representatives should be able to help unrepresented immigrants prepare pro se motions and applications. This notice is not a proposed new regulation; it is a notice seeking feedback in preparation for a potential future regulation. Public comments on this ANPRM are due on April 26, 2019. After this comment period ends, CLINIC expects the government to go through the formal rulemaking process with another public commenting period.
- The ANPRM solicits feedback on 11 specific questions about limited representation.
- Given the open-ended, and preliminary nature of the ANPRM, we ask that you keep comments broad and focused on general principles, rather than attempting to answer the specific questions.
- Our analysis has produced a list of general principles, provided below, to guide your responses. As you write your responses, refer back to these guidelines and try to relate each response to one or more of the principles.
- Use any available data to support your recommendations, including national data from publications, data collected from your own organization, as well as helpful examples from your practice.
- The ANPRM suggests that commenters provide draft regulatory language; CLINIC advises that commenters do not attempt to draft regulatory language.
As you draft your comment, please ensure that these common principles of legal representation for non-citizens in immigration court are the goals of each of your recommendations:
- While INA §292 grants noncitizens the privilege of being represented at no expense to the government, the best outcome would be full representation on all cases through a right to appointed counsel if not for all cases, then at least for juveniles.
- Counsel for non-citizens is beneficial to both parties in immigration court and to immigration judges. The immigration courts are experiencing record-high backlogs, and having counsel for both parties increases the court’s efficiency.
- It has been beneficial for advocates to enter their appearance on a limited basis in custody determinations on behalf of detained non-citizens. There are comparable circumstances where limited appearances would be beneficial, including, but not limited to, motions to reopen, motions to change venue and motions to terminate.
 “Pro bono representation benefits both the respondent and the court, providing respondents with welcome legal assistance and the judge with efficiencies that can only be realized when the respondent is represented. A capable pro bono representative can help the respondent navigate court rules and immigration laws and thereby assist the court in understanding the respondent’s circumstances and interests in relief, if any is available. Pro bono representation in immigration court thus promotes the effective and efficient administration of justice.” David Neal, Chief Immigration Judge, Operating Policies and Procedures Memorandum 08-01: Guidelines for Facilitating Pro Bono Legal Services, Mar. 10, 2008, https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/eoir/legacy/2008/04/24/08-01.pdf.