AILA Doc. No. 04030165 | Dated March 1, 2004
Re: Comments to Proposed Rule "Executive Office for Immigration Review Attorney/Representative Registry" RIN 1125-AA39 (68 Fed. Reg. 75160 (December 30, 2003))
Dear Sir or Madam:
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) submits the following comments on proposed regulations published in the Federal Register on December 30, 2003, that would mandate registration of attorneys and representatives appearing before EOIR. AILA is a voluntary bar association of more than 8,700 attorneys and law professors practicing and teaching in the field of immigration and nationality law.
AILA takes a very broad view on immigration matters because our member attorneys represent tens of thousands of individuals in proceedings and families who have applied for permanent residence for their spouses, children, and other close relatives to lawfully enter and reside in the United States. AILA members also represent thousands of U.S. businesses and industries that sponsor highly skilled foreign professionals seeking to enter the United States on a temporary basis or, having proved the unavailability of U.S. workers, on a permanent basis. Our members also represent asylum seekers, often on a pro bono basis, as well as athletes, entertainers, and foreign students.
Electronic attorney registration may be a prerequisite to updating and modernizing EOIR's information technology ("IT") capacity. However, the proposed regulation fails to take into account some of the practical concerns facing practitioners who represent individuals before EOIR. While several of these issues already exist with the current paper-based EOIR-28 entry of appearance, the majority are currently reviewed and resolved by EOIR clerks and Immigration Judges. The proposal's narrow limitation on information accepted by the system, and the proposed use of electronic means to generate notices and determine scheduling conflicts, will create new problems, some of which could be avoided by expanding both the concept of, and information allowed, regarding a particular case's registered attorney(s) or representative(s). In any event, the registration should not be mandatory, due to the complications discussed below.
We urge the Department of Justice to revisit these proposals in light of these comments.
AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOCIATION
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 04030165.