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2nd Circuit Changes Rules to Speed Up Immigration Cases

On last Tuesday, in a move that was widely acclaimed by immigration attorneys for properly addressing inefficiencies, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered that all pending immigration cases at the 2nd Circuit be tolled for 90 days to allow the government and the appellants to decide whether the case is worthy of pursuing. Currently, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals faces a huge overload of cases in which persons alleged to be illegal aliens are challenging their deportations.

Jojo Annobil, the attorney in charge of the immigration law unit at the Legal Aid Society of New York welcomed the order and said, “It’s about protecting the immigrant from being deported without notifying the court.”

The written opinion issued by the 2nd Circuit mentions that the court was compelled to adopt the new system because of “more than a thousand cases in our court” where the government is yet to decide “whether it will or can remove petitioners” given the new government stance on deferred deportation.

So, the court wants the litigants, including the government, to make up their minds.

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The court mentioned, “As we have previously observed, it is wasteful to commit judicial resources to immigration cases when circumstances suggest that, if the Government prevails, it is unlikely to promptly effect the petitioner’s removal.”

The 2nd Circuit also mentions that in many cases the government is unable to produce the travel documents for the alien slated for deportations, thus resulting in years of litigation in a low-priority case where the government might be better off suspending the litigation.

As of September, the New York City Immigration Court had 44,368 pending immigration proceedings.

In Tuesday’s opinion written by Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs, the court said that the government had outlined its position in a filing in an August deportation case, “When the Office of Immigration Litigation (OIL) determines in consultation with ICE that a case is a low priority matter, the assigned OIL attorney will seek remand for administrative closure.”

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