On August 26, 2019, the Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) published an interim final rule, effective immediately, with a request for public comments by October 25, 2019. ILRC posted a templated comment urging programs to send in their own responses.
ILRC has also submitted its own comments. Here are a few important points regarding the rule:
The rule portrays itself as an internal re-organization, but it has a very substantial negative impact on the legal access programs operated by EOIR’s Office of Legal Access programs (OLAP), including the Recognition and Accreditation and legal orientation programs. OLAP is eliminated by the rule, and all the legal access programs are moved into an Office of Policy that was organized within EOIR in 2017. The Office of Policy has demonstrated its mission to be enforcement of the administration’s immigration agenda.
The rule also grants the EOIR director precedent decision-making power in BIA cases when they are delayed beyond 90 days (for single Board member cases) or 180 days (if a three-member Board panel is assigned). The EOIR director is an administrator, not a judge, and he answers directly to a political appointee, the Attorney General. This undermines the independence and integrity of the BIA and will erode the impartiality of their decisions.