06/16/2020. This is my inaugural blog. I will try to write as much as I can to let everyone out there know what is happening in the immigration world. I will try to do that on Fridays so to wrap up the week. #fridayfacts
But since this is the first blog, Tuesday will have to do. I have many clients who are in deportation/removal cases in the immigration court. To update everyone, today I received a new email indicating that most immigration court, with the exception of Hawaii, Boston, Buffalo, Dallas, Hartford, Las Vegas, Memphis, and new Orleans will stay closed through July 3, 2020 and will likely open July 6, 2020. This is for NON-detainee cases.
I will keep you informed since the dates seem to change constantly. Out local courts are likewise closed. However, I did get the “standing” orders from the Los Angeles, (Olive St.) court regarding future hearings. All master hearing cases will be done telephonically and a “represented client’s” (ie client who has an attorney) presence is waived. Individual (meaning final hearing) cases can also be done telephonically.
While this sounds easy, in practice, I anticipate lots of headaches. Attorneys are supposed to call in and stay on the line until they are called. This is not practical since attorneys often have several hearings and go between courts. While it is ideal to only have one hearing per morning or afternoon, it is not practical since the case load in Los Angeles is so huge. It is just not workable to call the Court and stay on the telephone line until the judge is ready for the case. Seems to me this process will likely cause great deal of confusion and headaches for all parties, not to mention create additional and unnecessary work for attorneys who now have “court created” conflicts and need to file motions to untangle the mess.
The process for individual hearing is not any less headachy. Parties must stipulate to telephonic hearings. It is unclear where the client must be located if client’s presence is waived. If it is not waived, will it be safe to have so many people in court? Another question is the interpreter. Telephonic hearings suffer from the same issues as a regular telephone conversation. There is connectivity issue, issues with clearly hearing questions/answers, and general unreliability.
It is also unclear what will happen if the client does not wish for a telephonic hearing. Will the matter be reset to a time when in court hearings are available or will the judge force the hearing forward? What will happen if the judge wants to go forward but the attorney and/or client do not feel comfortable going forward in cramped in a small courtroom? These are all issues that are not addressed in the court orders.
Bottom line is that this is going to be a learning curve. We can only hope that everyone will have their logic hats on and issues can be resolved without further damage to our immigration laws.