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EOIR Director creates master calendar rules specifically for non-detained, represented cases

  1. Date Announced

    Dec. 1, 2020

    Via Policy Memo 21-05, the EOIR Director revises the rules for master calendar hearings, specifically for respondents who are not detained and are represented.

    Observing that most respondents in this group do not contest removability and that EOIR no longer requires applications for relief to be filed in court, the Director mandates that, in cases where a Form EOIR-28 is filed at least 15 days before the master calendar hearing, the hearing will be vacated. In lieu of the master calendar hearing, a scheduling order will be issued and will include deadlines for any written pleadings, evidence, and applications for relief. The parties will be given at least 45 days from the date of the vacated hearing to submit their filings (though the specific deadlines remain subject to the immigration judge’s discretion). Once filings have been completed, the immigration judge may proceed to issue an order or schedule the case for a merits hearing.

    For non-detained, represented cases where the Form EOIR-28 is filed in less than 15 days of the master calendar hearing, the hearing will proceed as scheduled.

    In recognition of the “opportunities for gamesmanship,” the memo warns that efforts to deceive the immigration judge about a respondent’s representation may constitute grounds for disciplinary action.

    [ID# 1203]

    See Biden administration action below.

    View Policy Document
  2. Effective Date of Change

    Dec. 1, 2020
  3. Subsequent Action

    December 4, 2020

    Service providers report that the new "Enhanced Case Flow Processing" policy has resulted in immigration courts issuing scheduling orders with expedited filing deadlines.

    Immigrant Kids Now Facing Speeded-Up Deportation Proceedings Under New Trump Directive
  4. Subsequent Action

    December 23, 2020

    EOIR changed the standard 15-day filing deadline for non-detained merits hearings to a 30-day filing deadline. As a result, as of December 23, 2020, attorneys representing non-detained individuals in removal proceedings must file all pre-hearing documents 30 days prior to the merits hearing unless the immigration judge had set a different date.

    NIJC: Pro Bono Alert Without Any Warning, EOIR Changes the Filing Deadline for Merits Hearings
  5. Biden Administration Action

    April 2, 2021

    This Biden administration policy revokes the Trump-era policy identified in this entry.

    On April 2, 2021, the EOIR Acting Director rescinded Policy Memo 21-05.

    Policy Memo 21-17: Rescind and Cancel Policy Memorandum 21-05
  6. Biden Administration Action

    April 2, 2021

    This Biden administration policy modifies the Trump-era policy identified in this entry.

    On April 2, 2021, DOJ's Chief Immigration Judge issued Policy Memo 21-18 on case flow processing, reinstating but relaxing some of the procedural changes made by Policy Memo 21-05 (e.g., allowing for written pleadings in lieu of a master calendar hearing but not requiring applications for relief to be filed up front).

    Policy Memo 21-18: Revised Case Flow Processing Before The Immigration Courts

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