An Update from the Immigration Court Reform Advisory Committee Co-Chair

Proposing a New Model to Ensure Efficiency in the Courts, Creating a Manual for Practitioners, and More–Lisa Palumbo, Immigration Court Reform Advisory Committee Co-Chair

immigrationThe purpose is of the Immigration Court Reform Advisory Committee is to work together with stakeholders to create a more fair and efficient immigration court system. Towards that end, we are focusing our efforts on three major projects.

First, through the exceptional work of Steve Schulman and Akin Gump, the Appleseed Network Collaboration on Immigration Justice (comprised of Chicago Appleseed, South Carolina Appleseed, Nebraska Appleseed, Texas Appleseed, Akin Gump, and National Appleseed Board member Jim Rogers) is finalizing an Advocate’s Manual for immigration court practitioners.  The Manual will provide practitioners with practical guidance and information about how to work effectively in immigration court. It will address bond hearings, asylum cases, motion practice, working with interpreters and other facets of working in immigration court.  The Appleseed Network Collaboration hopes the Manual will help advocates become better prepared and knowledgeable about the complexities of working in the Court, thus creating greater efficiency for the Court and other stakeholders.

Second, the Committee is directly engaged with the Chicago Immigration Court through its role on the Chicago Immigration Court Working Group, an association of academics, funders and practitioners that has been working with the Court to identify areas of the practice that could benefit from greater efficiency.  The Working Group has proposed an efficiency model with the Court that would streamline cases before an initial hearing takes place.

Finally, the Committee is working with the Appleseed Network Collaborative to develop a national focus among individual Appleseed offices by carrying out complementary and inter-connected immigration advocacy in each of these unique locations. In the wake of an election which has left many immigrants feeling fearful and anxious, the Collaboration will form an ongoing network to discuss ideas about how to address the changing landscape of immigration policy.

The Committee strongly encourages others to join to assist with its work during this challenging time. For more information about the Committee and its work, please contact Chicago Appleseed’s Executive Director, Malcolm Rich.