AILA Doc No. 03101422 | Dated October 13, 2003
American Bar Association Calls On Board Of Immigration Appeals To Discard Procedural Changes Adopted In 2002
WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 13, 2003 - The American Bar Association today called on the Board of Immigration Appeals to discard procedures it adopted in 2002 or, failing that, to adopt a series of changes in order to unclog federal court dockets and achieve justice for immigrants and their families.
The announcement follows an ABA review of a study on the impact of the procedural changes at the BIA, undertaken pro bono by Dorsey and Whitney LLP at the request of the ABA Commission on Immigration Policy, Practice and Pro Bono. The "Study of Board of Immigration Appeals Procedural Reforms to Improve Case Management" represents the views of the authors and editors and has not been adopted as policy by the ABA House of Delegates. The findings of the study confirm concerns that the ABA has had from the time the changes were proposed, and about which the ABA has communicated with the Department of Justice.
"This study concludes that changes billed as simple procedural matters are having a serious and sweeping effect on the administration of justice," said ABA President Dennis W. Archer. "After reviewing it, the ABA is recommending that the Department of Justice quickly discard the procedural changes and reinstate prior procedures."
Research for the study was conducted over five months by a team of 50 legal professionals, and focused on the impact through July 2003 of procedural changes instituted by the Department of Justice in 2002. Its results demonstrate that the changes are having a negative impact on both the quality and quantity of BIA decisions, concluding that:
"We have been concerned about these procedural reforms since they were first proposed," noted Esther Lardent, chair of the ABA Commission on Immigration Policy, Practice and Pro-Bono. "The results of the study show those concerns were well-founded, and we are calling on the Department of Justice to make the changes needed to ensure justice for newcomers to our country."
After its review of the study, the ABA Commission prepared a report, also not adopted as ABA policy, which concludes, as a minimum, that the following modifications are necessary if the Board of Immigration Appeals does not discard the 2002 procedures:
The ABA report is posted at www.abanet.org/immigration/home.html. The "Study on Board of Immigration Appeals Procedural Reforms to Improve Case Management," as well as an executive summary of the study and related appendices, can be viewed at www.dorsey.com/aba_biaReport.
The American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership association in the world. With more than 405,000 members, the ABA provides law school accreditation, continuing legal education, information about the law, programs to assist lawyers and judges in their work, and initiatives to improve the legal system for the public.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 03101422.