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WASHINGTON, DC—Immigration groups today moved for an emergency temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in order to protect the health of immigration attorneys, immigrants, and the public from the impact of dangerous and unconstitutional policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Represented by the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) and the law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, NIPNLG, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and the Immigration Justice Campaign—a joint initiative of the American Immigration Council and AILA—filed the TRO, in NIPNLG, et al., v. EOIR, et al., to seek a brief pause of in-person hearings for detained individuals and facilitate remote confidential communication between attorneys and their clients. The pause would enable EOIR and ICE to adopt policies, practices, and procedures to enable the consistent and safe conduct of remote hearings (for example by video teleconference) that are protective of attorney-client privilege.

EOIR and ICE have repeatedly ignored recommendations regarding how to maintain health and safety in the courts and in detention, including the use of remote access. Detainees, court staff, and attorneys are subject to inconsistent practices and procedures for in-person hearings in 58 of the nation’s 69 immigration courts.

A copy of the motion for the emergency temporary restraining order is available at the link here.