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COVID-19 Advocacy

The COVID-19 pandemic is having profound impacts on the immigration detention system and the immigration courts. On this page you will find relevant advocacy work. For more resources, including sample filings and templates, please visit our COVID-19 Updates Training Page.

Letter Urges an Affirmative File Review for Every Person in ICE Custody

February 11, 2021

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association joined over 120 other organizations in asking the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the White House for an affirmative file review of every person in ICE custody, utilizing a presumption of release, with a process for review and escalation and the prioritization of the most vulnerable individuals. It is essential that the Biden administration’s review of enforcement priorities not leave behind the 14,000 people already in ICE detention, where they face family separation, abuse, medical neglect, serious illness, and even death.
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Special Report: The Impact of COVID-19 on Noncitizens and Across the U.S. Immigration System

October 2, 2020

This report by the American Immigration Council identifies disruptions throughout the immigration system because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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AILA and the American Immigration Council’s Organizational Comment on COVID-19-Related Asylum Regulation

August 6, 2020

On August 5, 2020, AILA and the American Immigration Council, through the Justice Campaign, submitted an organizational comment on the proposed asylum regulation that would virtually eliminate asylum seekers’ ability to pursue humanitarian protections in the U.S. for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Letter Demands Greater Transparency For Cameroonian Immigrants Held in Immigration Detention

July 23, 2020

AILA and the American Immigration Council signed on to a letter calling on Congress to demand greater transparency from ICE regarding Cameroonian and other Black immigrants held in immigration detention facilities across the country.
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Letter Calls on NM Governor Lujan-Grisham To Halt Transfers Into ICE Facilities

June 22, 2020

AILA and the American immigration Council signed on to a June 22, 2020 letter to New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham requesting her assistance and leadership to prevent transfers and book-ins to ICE facilities in New Mexico. The letter, which focuses on the Otero County Processing Center in Chaparral, New Mexico, highlights the profit motives behind the transfers and the dangerous consequences of such transfers during a pandemic.
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Justice Campaign Pro Bono Partners Demand Release of Individuals Endangered in Texas Detention Facility

June 23, 2020

On June 23, 2020, the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, through their pro bono work with Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center and the Immigration Justice Campaign, filed a group habeas petition demanding the release of individuals detained in the Joe Corley Detention Facility in Conroe, Texas.
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Take A Stand Against Family Separation: Join the #Families4Families Campaign

June 1, 2020

We've heard from our partners on the ground with Proyecto Dilley, formerly the Dilley Pro Bono Project, that ICE is forcing detained families to make an impossible choice: remain detained indefinitely along with their children during a pandemic, or release their children to a sponsor while the parents remain in detention, threatening widespread family separation. Take a stand against this practice today.
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Press Release: Complaint Highlights Accounts of Individuals Detained During the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 7, 2020

Immigration Justice Campaign Director, Karen Lucas, and National Advocacy Counsel, Katie Shepherd, detail why ICE’s failure to protect those in its custody during the COVID-19 pandemic demands immediate oversight by the Department of Homeland Security in order to prevent further spread of the virus in ICE facilities.
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Complaint Details ICE’s Failure to Protect Those in its Custody Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 7, 2020

On May 7, 2020, the Immigration Justice Campaign and local partners filed an oversight complaint with the Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Office of the Inspector General highlighting the experiences of those detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody during the COVID-19 pandemic, and ICE’s failure to protect those in its custody.
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Stories from Detention Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 28, 2020

Justice Campaign volunteers are fiercely advocating for the release of vulnerable individuals from the unsafe conditions of ICE detention – where social distancing is impossible and medical care woefully inadequate. Read the personal accounts from individuals who are fighting for release and the volunteers who are helping them.
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Temporary Restraining Order Requested to Stop Dangerous EOIR and ICE Policies During the COVID-19 Pandemic"

April 8, 2020

AILA, the Immigration Justice Campaign, the NIPNLG, and several detained individuals filed an emergency TRO challenging EOIR’s operation of in-person immigration court hearings and ICE’s conditions of confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Lawsuit Seeks Halt to Dangerous and Unconstitutional Policies Endangering Immigration Attorneys, Clients, and the Public During the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 30, 2020

AILA, the Immigration Justice Campaign, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and several detained individuals filed suit to demand EOIR and ICE take actions to prioritize health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Letters to Colorado, New Jersey, and New Mexico Governors Call for Releases from Detention Amid COVID-19

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the American Immigration Council (Council) and local legal service provider partners sent letters to Governors Jared Polis, Phil Murphy, and Michelle Lujan Grisham urging them to take steps to reduce the number of individuals in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody in their states amid the coronavirus outbreak. The letters describe well-documented issues within ICE facilities that make inaction incredibly harmful, and possibly deadly.
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Recorded Webinar: Detention During COVID-19: What is Happening and How You Can Help

Watch our webinar recording to learn about what is happening in immigration detention centers and immigration courts around the country during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what you can do to help.
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Twitterstorm to Protect Detained Individuals Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

@AILANational and @immcouncil hosted a Twitterstorm on Wednesday, April 1 at 12pm ET to urge EOIR and ICE to immediately authorize the robust and automatic use of remote options for immigration court appearances and attorney-client meetings in ICE detention centers, and to release vulnerable individuals from detention. Advocates used this Twitterstorm toolkit to participate!

El Paso Immigration Collaborative (EPIC) Statement Regarding COVID-19

March 17, 2020

On March 17, 2020, the El Paso Immigration Collaborative (EPIC) sent a letter to the ICE Field Office Director highlighting public health concerns related to COVID-19 for individuals in ICE Custody in El Paso, the need for the immediate release of individuals who are at high risk, and recommending steps to mitigate the crisis for this population.
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Letter to ICE and EOIR Regarding Remote Legal Access and Representation During COVID-19 Pandemic

More than 100 organizations urged EOIR and ICE to immediately authorize the robust and automatic use of remote options for immigration court appearances and attorney-client meetings.
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About Our Model Volunteer Advocacy Get Trained Join

The American Immigration Council warns non-citizens to guard against spoofing phone calls from ill-intended individuals seeking to create panic among our immigrant community. To learn more, please go to scam.immigrationcouncil.org.

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