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EOIR issues guidance regarding child advocates in UAC hearings

  1. Original Date Announced

    November 15, 2019

    Through Policy Memo 20-03, EOIR issues guidance limiting the role of child advocates in unaccompanied alien child (UAC) cases, stating that "neither the statute nor applicable regulations provide a formal mechanism for a child advocate to appear before an immigration judge." The guidance prohibits IJs from treating a child advocate as a UAC's legal representative.

    [ID #224]

    EOIR Guidance on Child Advocates in Immigration Proceedings
  2. Effective Date

    November 15, 2019
  4. Biden Administration Action: Revoked/Replaced

    July 5, 2023

    The Role of Child Advocates in Immigration Court

    On July 5, 2023, DOJ issued an EOIR memorandum that supersedes and rescinds Policy Memorandum 20-03 as issued during the Trump administration and identified in this entry.

    The new memorandum outlines guidelines for Child Advocates in Immigration Court. Child Advocates identify and advocate for children in immigration proceedings by making best interests determinations (BIDs) that account for child-protection principles and consider each child's unique situation. This memorandum discusses the purpose and substantive basis for BIDs and procedures for considering BIDs filed in immigration court.

    View Document

Current Status

Not in effect

Most Recent Action

July 5, 2023 Action: Revoked/Replaced The Role of Child Advocates in Immigration Court
July 5, 2023
Acted on by Biden Administration

Original Trump Policy Status

Status: Final/Actual
Trump Administration Action: Agency Directive
Agencies Affected: EOIR ORR ICE

Pre Trump-Era Policies

  • December 23, 2008

    EOIR Policy Memo 20-03 memorializes EOIR’s policy regarding child advocates, who are described in 8 U.S.C. § 1232(c)(6). Under the statute, "[t]he Secretary of Health and Human Services is authorized to appoint independent child advocates for child trafficking victims and other vulnerable unaccompanied alien children. A child advocate shall be provided access to materials necessary to effectively advocate for the best interest of the child. The child advocate shall not be compelled to testify or provide evidence in any proceeding concerning any information or opinion received from the child in the course of serving as a child advocate. The child advocate shall be presumed to be acting in good faith and be immune from civil liability for lawful conduct of duties as described in this provision."

    8 USC 1232(c)(6) - Child Advocates

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