Who will be affected by the new regulations signed by the judge of the immigration court? Many ask themselves this question migrants in the United States.
Right now the number of Immigration Procedures in the United States is the highest in recent memory, which is why the Immigration Court (EOIR) has announced a new system to expedite hearings.
A memorandum published on August 11 tries to achieve this goal with alternative routes.
What types of immigration processes can now be held in the United States?
The new guide, signed by the current Chief Justice of the Immigration Court, establishes a new system so that three types of court proceedings are conducted depending on the presence of those involved: in person, by telephone or online.
In some cases, it is even possible for the procedures to be carried out against more than one immigrant at the same time.
The memorandum indicates that the simultaneous physical presence of the judge and the migrant in the same physical space is not required.
For example, it will be possible to remotely direct a process from Montana while the non-citizen is in New York.
For video conferencing, the use of not only the closed circuit of the court, but also those conducted through the Webex platform is allowed.
This opens possibilities for a judge to hold a face-to-face conference while the parts appear onlineor the other way around.
All cases, even if the judge and the parties are not present in person, have the same legal validity and are dealt with in the memorandum in the form of internet-based hearings.
How Are Internet Immigration Procedures Conducted?
That new guide for this type of studies establishes several guidelines for its implementation, taking into account the environment in which it is being developed.
Some of the most important come after learning from similar ones that have happened during the Covid-19 pandemic:
- The court has the power to decide whether or not the judge will attend hearings remotely, in accordance with agency policies and operational needs that may exist;
- Likewise, it is up to the court to decide whether the parties appear online, but the immigration judge has a duty to grant the defendant’s request to do so remotely if it is possible and reasonable;
- If legal representation is available, the request for appearance by the defendant, his counsel, or both on one of the existing forms should generally be granted;
- If the defendant does not have a lawyer, the court will not order an online hearing. In principle, at the request of the migrant, the judge must grant such an option;
- The request for a witness to appear remotely must be granted for as long as this is reasonable;
- The request to appear at an online or in-person hearing must be made in writing 15 days prior to the hearing, unless the judge directs otherwise;
- There is no need for the defendant to meet with their attorney in the same physical room when the hearing is remote. Both can be presented from different sides;
- The judge conducting an online hearing must confirm that the parties can be seen clearly from their screen and that the audio quality allows for an appropriate hearing in all types of court proceedings.
What measures are taken in the event of difficulties in conducting the study online?
court Commitment to the digitized court system to speed up these processes.
Internet-based hearings are expected to speed up the planning of upcoming court cases as the parties no longer have to travel.
Nevertheless, The system is not without critics. Some lawyers point out that video conferences can be subject to disruptions and the quality of the Internet connection at the time they are conducted.
This is one of the experiences gathered during the pandemic period and to avoid some of these problems, the new memorandum has provided some solutions based on points of contact (POC). allow you to troubleshoot in real time:
- In the event that a defendant does not have the necessary technology to conduct a hearing over the Internet, the court may permit the defendant to conduct a hearing using the Company’s own equipment in a room designated for that purpose;
- It is the court’s duty to ensure that its contact points are active and available to resolve technical difficulties during the court session;
- Also, POCs must be active and on-call to resolve any connectivity issues that may exist;
- The immigration judge must wait a reasonable time before adjourning the hearing if either participant is unable to connect before the start time or if a connection failure occurs during the hearing;
- If nothing happens in this period, the judge will ask the court’s POC if connection problems have been reported and only after a negative answer can he decide what action to take;
- If there is a video error but no audio, the judge can continue the hearing this way if the parties agree. Otherwise you will have to postpone the hearing;
- In the event of a postponement due to connectivity issues, the judge and court staff, as well as the defendant’s attorney, should work together to find an early date for the hearing to resume;
- If there are ongoing connection problems, the immigration judge has the power to order the affected party to appear in court for a rescheduled hearing.
Finally, it was noted that while legal representation is not required to participate in a digital court proceeding, it is advisable to seek legal advice before appearing.
Some experienced lawyers on the subject confirm that it is a good system, but that although it is very practical, its dynamism does not allow it to be compared to in-person trials, although in terms of cybersecurity they admit that it is is absolutely safe judgments.
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