In the past few days we have noticed various changes in the handling of cases before the Immigration Courts and the ICE. Although the immigration courts have canceled many hearings, the courts have remained open to receive filings. ICE has temporarily changed many of its standard practices. In order to provide you with the most up-to-date information about what is happening, we have answered various questions below that we have recently received.
What happens to hearings before immigration courts?
The hearings scheduled for April 10, 2020 for people in the United States who are not detained have been postponed. The hearings have also been postponed for those waiting for hearings in Mexico as part of the hearings under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP or Remain in Mexico) scheduled to run until April 22, 2020. If a hearing is scheduled during this time, you should call 1-800-898-7180 to check the date of your new hearing. You can also access the court’s automated case information system for information about your case here: https://portal.eoir.justice.gov/InfoSystem/Form?Language=DE.
For those in the United States who are not in custody, immigration courts are likely to start hearing again from April 13, 2020. To stay up to date on the status of the Immigration Court, we monitored the various announcements made by the courts at: https://www.justice.gov/eoir/eoir-operational-status-during-coronavirus-pandemic.
Many immigration courts have remained open to submissions, although various hearings have been postponed. If the immigration court has set a deadline in your case, it is important to keep to the deadline, even if the hearing has been delayed. Just because a case has been delayed does not mean that there is no work to be done. The preparation of cases and filing with the Immigration Courts will continue. If your case has been delayed, it is also important to check whether the delay has any effect on your case.
What if I have an appointment to report to ICE?
In many regions, ICE allows individuals to register by phone. You should check with the local regulator to report personally. At the moment, the ICE office in San Antonio allows individuals to register by phone. ICE officials are also calling for the reporting dates to be changed later. If you have an appointment with ICE in San Antonio and would like to ask whether you should appear in person, you should call 210-564-2032, 210-564-2033 or 210-564-2034 Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 210 a.m .: 00 and 3 p.m.
What about the Immigration Court hearings for those arrested by ICE?
For those in ICE detention, the hearings before the Immigration Court are on schedule. Immigration courts are housed in many ICE detention centers. Most of these courts only allow clients, their lawyers, and court officials to appear for hearings. Lawyers must provide and use personal protective equipment (PPE) such as goggles, gloves, and a mask to take part in the hearing. At various locations, immigration judges allow lawyers to take part in the hearings over the phone.
Can I visit someone arrested by ICE?
In order to avoid the transmission of COVID-19, ICE detention centers have banned social visits. This means that family and friends are currently not allowed to visit people detained by ICE. Lawyers can continue to visit their clients, but must bring and wear PPE.
Can I provide an immigration guarantee so that ICE can release my family member?
Yes, immigration bonds can still be booked. However, ICE limits incoming payments to locations with a payment window or other barrier to limit the transmission of the corona virus. In the San Antonio region, you can file an immigration certificate at 3523 Cross Point Drive, San Antonio, Texas 78217.
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