Published April 3, 2019

No Dark Courtrooms is a U.S. Department of Justice/Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) initiative to “reduce and minimize the impact of unused courtrooms and docket time” in the administration of removal proceedings.   The launch date of the initiative is May 1, 2019 and its goal is to allow DOJ/EOIR (the agency overseeing our nation’s removal proceedings) resources to be used more efficiently and to tackle the 850,000+ docket of cases now pending.    

To take advantage of new Immigration Judge hiring in the past few years and the abundance of open courtrooms in many jurisdictions, EOIR will be scheduling more cases on Fridays and increasing the use of video teleconferencing for hearings, the latter of which brings into question due process concerns for those fighting to remain in the U.S.  Additionally, retired Immigration Judges are being rehired to hear cases on a limited basis and Supervisory Immigration Judges are being called into action to hear cases at least 4 times a month. 

In essence, the DOJ is looking to use its courtroom space and professional personnel as efficiently as possible, with aim of having more decisions issued more quickly, as opposed to the 2-3 year wait commonly faced by individuals in removal proceedings.  For individuals with meritorious defenses to removal, this is great news. For individuals without a good defense, not so much. 

Individuals who have received a Notice to Appear for removal proceedings are advised to consult with experienced, reputable immigration counsel to learn of available defenses and maximize their chances of remaining in the U.S.

PUBLISHED April 3, 2019– “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2019, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois