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The Department of Justice is proposing to amend the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s regulations with regard to how appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals are handled. The Department also seeks to change regulations removing the ability of immigration judges or BIA members to use a mechanism called administrative closure to close cases. The proposed changes are intended “remove inapplicable or unnecessary provisions regarding the forwarding of the record of proceedings on appeal,” the proposal said. But it would also limit immigration judges’ powers and discretion over how immigration cases are handled. Read the proposed regulation.
In other national immigration news…
Immigrant Detainees Thrown in Solitary for Covid-19 Symptoms
Immigrant detainees with COVID-19 symptoms are being put in solitary confinement for days or weeks at a time, with little opportunity for medical treatment, The Intercept reports. “In the end, what they did was psychologically torture me,” said Carlos Hernandez Corbacho, who spent a week in isolation at Arizona’s La Palma Correctional Center after showing symptoms of COVID-19. “Resorting to solitary confinement to treat physically ill immigration detainees demonstrates ICE’s appalling inability to provide humane and truly civil detention,” said Ellen Gallagher, who works for the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General. The Intercept
American Students Banned from Canada Unless Deemed Necessary
American students headed to Canadian schools are facing substantial hurdles as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the two countries’ border. Visas that used to take weeks are now taking months to secure, and students are being asked to prove their physical presence is mandatory. “It’s a mess,” said Christopher Collette, an immigration attorney at Campbell Cohen in suburban Montreal. The country has 500,000 international college students and thousands of other younger ones. Entering Canada to attend school is “generally” considered optional, Canada Border Services Agency spokesperson Jacqueline Callin said. Politico
Trump Administration Breaks Ground on Border Wall Near Historic Cemetery
The Trump administration has broken ground on constructing a 18-foot steel and concrete border next to the oldest Protestant church in South Texas and two historic cemeteries. The cemeteries are part of a little-known chapter in the history of slavery and the Underground Railroad. Congress exempted the Eli Jackson Cemetery and the Jackson Ranch Church and Cemetery from the border wall construction in the 2020 appropriations bill, but the administration has chosen to move forward with building the wall there anyway. The Intercept
Immigration Court Case Completion Rate Falls as Backlog Grows
The immigration court backlog was at an all time high when the coronavirus pandemic began. Now, it has grown even worse as the rate of case completions have also dropped, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. Monthly case completions before the March shutdown were running over 40,000. In July, the immigration courts completed just 5,960 cases. Yet the growth of new cases hasn’t slowed; In between April and July 2020, a total of 111,752 new Notices to Appear — the charging document issued to bring people to the court — were issued by the Department of Homeland Security. Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse