Like USCIS and ICE, most immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) continue to operate and are processing cases; however, some courts have temporary closures due to COVID-19. Receipt stamps continue to be issued for defensive applications, motions, pleadings, and evidentiary filings. Likewise, the courts continue to issue new hearing notices and immigration judges continue to decide motions. Similarly, the BIA continues to accept notices of appeal, briefs, and motions. While the immigration courts and BIA remain operational, nondetained immigration court hearings have been rescheduled through May 1, 2020. The following are other changes in policy affecting EOIR:
EOIR Operational Status During COVID-19
While immigration courts remain open to hear detained cases and accept in-person filings, many courts throughout the country have been disrupted as a result of the pandemic, causing temporary closures. Consequentially, EOIR created a webpage with the operational status for the BIA and courts nationwide. To receive email notifications from DOJ regarding closures, standing orders, and other changes, subscribe here.
Standing Orders in Local Immigration Courts
The Immigration Court Practice Manual is now being frequently updated to include standing orders at local courts (see Appendix R). As of March 25, there are standing orders specific to the courts at Adelanto, Arlington, Atlanta, Baltimore, Batavia, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Conroe, Dallas, Elizabeth, Florence, Hartford, Kansas City, Las Vegas, New York-Varick, Omaha, Pearsall, San Antonio, Lumpkin, Tacoma, Tucson, and York. While some standing orders allow for telephonic appearances without email, others require notification to the court ahead of time, but by less formal means, including by email.
EOIR Accept Filings via Email
EOIR has accepted temporary email accounts for immigration courts and the BIA to facilitate electronic filing. Likewise, digital and photocopies of signatures are now acceptable for filings with EOIR and the BIA; the BIA is only accepting briefs, motions, and new entrances of appearances via email. Notices of Appeal still need to be filed via mail or in person.