I just got home from the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. On Friday, I spoke on a panel entitled, “Strategic and Evidentiary Issues in the Defense Against Removal.” My friends Joe Hohenstein and Philip Smith were on the panel with me. I spoke mostly about challenging forensic lab determinations and challenging port of entry and credible fear statements. I always enjoy attending the AILA National Conference. I was asked to be on AILA’s Amicus Committee again this year. The Amicus Committee writes briefs on behalf of AILA when AILA wishes to be heard in immigration cases that have important issues. The Amicus Committee had its first meeting of the year at the National Conference.
Archives for June 2012
On April 4, 2012, I blogged about how certain Immigration Judges would be canceling court, so that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) could review cases for administrative closure. Last week, the New York Times reported on the results so far of the efforts of ICE to exercise prosecutorial discretion by administratively closing cases. According to the article, 288,361 cases have been reviewed and only 4,403 cases have been administratively closed. That’s a rate of approximately 2%. The fact that such a low rate of cases has been administratively closed has been criticized by many organizations, including the American Immigration Lawyers Association. While this is very disappointing to immigration advocates, it also seems to be a tremendous waste of resources. The point of ICE reviewing files for administrative closure was to clear the Immigration Court’s overburdened docket. I was in in immigration court a few weeks ago and an Immigration Judge scheduled me for a hearing in 2014 because that was the earliest date the Immigration Judge had on her calendar. To shut the system down to review 288,361 cases and only administratively close 4,403 cases does not seem like it was worth the effort.
The article does not discuss deferred actions, but provides statistics about deferred actions. A deferred action is when an alien is subject to a final order of removal and requests not to be deported for humanitarian reasons. In 2010, there were only 486 grants of deferred actions or stays of removal. By comparison, 1,973 deferred actions were granted so far in fiscal year 2012. Unlike the administrative closure statistics, this dramatic increase in deferred actions is something to be optimistic about.
I got a card in the mail from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”). It congratulated me on being a member of AILA for 10 years. I hadn’t realized that I had been a member of AILA for that long. I’m glad that I’m a member of AILA. They provide a lot of information and resources for immigration lawyers. They also advocate for changes in the immigration laws. I think that anyone who practices immigration law should be a member of AILA.