Matthew Hoppock Profile picture
FOIA and Immigration law nerd. he/him/él. Be kind. On Signal at 913-710-1994.
Griselle Garcia Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
22 Feb
Detained immigration attorneys - EOIR has a new page up describing "clerical transfers" where the court says it can now change venue from one court to another "with only an administrative notation" - no need for a change of venue motion or order by the IJ. justice.gov/eoir/paired-co…
There are serious due process problems here if, for example, a court clerk in El Paso can just change venue to Atlanta with an "administrative notation" without notice to either party.
They also updated the Uniform Docketing Manual System Manual on Friday with a new section about "clerical transfer." It gives release from a detention setting as one example where this will be used but no more detail about when else it will be used. justice.gov/eoir/eoir-poli…
Read 5 tweets
8 Feb
As EOIR continues to slowly roll out its ECAS e-filing system I'm looking at the agency's budget reporting for the system, and things are not good. In FY 20 they planned to train 620 employees to use it but only trained 341.
itdashboard.gov/drupal/summary…
They had planned to have 200,000 cases in electronic format for FY 2020. They achieved less than half of that.
In 2020 the DOJ's Chief Information Officer described the $23.5M investment in ECAS as Yellow "due to missed performance metrics"
Read 7 tweets
22 Jan
New BIA decision on divisibility of drug statutes, but this footnote is doing some heavy lifting. The DHS accused someone of being a citizen of the Soviet Union. The BIA had to clarify that the Soviet Union doesn't exist...justice.gov/eoir/page/file…
The judge terminated the case. BIA granted the DHS's appeal and reversed the termination. Meaning the BIA kept the case alive, even though the DHS has only alleged the person is a citizen of a country that doesn't exist. Yes, I'll get to the merits, but jeez this is silly.
So, the merits. The person was convicted of violating a broad controlled substance statute that included substances which aren't banned federally. To convict him, the state didn't have to prove which substance was at issue. So, is it a "controlled substance" crime?
Read 4 tweets
22 Jan
There's more in the OIG report about IJ hiring than just the sexual harassment stuff. In this example, a senior EOIR employee involved in IJ hiring personally intervened for one candidate and replaced one of the judges on her hiring panel "to improve her chances of being hired."
It was his day off, but he came into the office anyway to intervene in this particular candidate's hiring. He invited her to his office to admire the view, escorted her to the interview room, and then invited her to his apartment afterward to change clothes.
It's alarming how much of this report is redacted - and there are more records they haven't turned over. The OIG said these actions communicated to the hiring panel that she was his close friend and that he "was providing her preferential treatment based on his relationship"
Read 9 tweets
22 Jan
One of the judges this story mentions is William Cassidy, who was promoted from an Atlanta IJ position to a BIA member position in 2019 by the Trump DOJ. Cassidy has an awful history that has been well-documented, but I'm still enraged reading this reporting.
The story notes that the EOIR Director served as an ICE attorney in Atlanta and practiced before Cassidy for years. And it points to FOIA records unearthed by Bryan Johnson showing they remain friendly.
A trove of complaints against Cassidy was published by AILA in 2019 after FOIA litigation. They generally show misconduct, substantiated in the record, followed by "written counseling" etc. aila.org/infonet/compla…
Read 15 tweets
22 Jan
People should read the OIG report about sexual misconduct in the IJ hiring process. The sex stuff wasn’t found to be misconduct but giving an IJ candidate the questions in advance was. I’m posting the redacted report we received through FOIA here. cdn.muckrock.com/foia_files/202…
First, a the report describes senior EOIR employees using “code words” to rate prospective female immigration judge candidates based on how sexually attractive they were. Those men are still employed by EOIR.
Their code word for a woman they considered very attractive was “smart” or “really smart.” Imagine being interviewed for a high level government job and having your panel refer to you as “smart” only to later find out they were just using their code language to refer to your body
Read 8 tweets
20 Jan
EOIR's policy manual - they updated the "Table of Changes" yesterday, but still it lists no changes.
Yet they appear to still be making changes. E.g.
Elsewhere, some pages say they have been updated as recently as yesterday, but they haven't. This one is identical to the copy I scraped on 1/13 (including the broken link to "Chapter 2").
Read 4 tweets
20 Jan
New EOIR policy memo saying IJs and BIA members are supposed to be neutral and impartial. justice.gov/eoir/book/file… Image
Lots of stuff here about punishing adjudicators if they don't follow binding precedent or favor one party. Hard not to get lost in the irony. Image
They haven't posted it to their EOIR policy memo page. justice.gov/eoir/policy-me…
Read 4 tweets
13 Jan
Harris's comments yesterday about their plan to hire more immigration judges should be concerning to anyone who has followed the way the EOIR has hired immigration judges and BIA members in the last four years. Putting more pieces into this broken machine won't fix it.
The EOIR made specific, unprecedented changes to the hiring process in the last four years to place unqualified candidates with high denial rates into these positions (reupping this 10/19 piece from @tanvim). rollcall.com/2019/10/29/doj…
In another example, the DOJ hired Guantanamo judge Vance Spath and spent 2 years negotiating the position with him while he was a sitting judge hearing cases where the DOJ was a party (see this piece from @carolrosenberg) nytimes.com/2019/04/16/us/…
Read 13 tweets
12 Jan
On Jan 4 the Eighth Circuit issued a pretty awful opinion on eligibility for a fraud waiver after a person is denaturalized for fraud, essentially endorsing gamesmanship by the DHS without notice. The case is Herrera Gonzalez v. Rosen. ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/01/1…
Petitioner admitted she had gotten her permanent residence through fraud (which led to a criminal conviction and later denaturalization). The government charged her with removability for the fraud, and she applied for the waiver that is allowed under that section.
After the judge had sustained the fraud charge, the DHS added a new charge that the marriage fraud conviction was a "crime involving moral turpitude." Then, at trial, the DHS withdrew the fraud charge, leaving only the CIMT charge, and argued there was no waiver for just the CIMT
Read 12 tweets
28 Dec 20
Last week the @DOJ_EOIR quietly updated its list of "Myths vs. Fact." I haven't factchecked the new one, but it's much longer and at first glance appears to even more misleading than the previous one. justice.gov/eoir/page/file…
Also, EOIR uploaded the new one at the same URL as the prior one, which effectively removes the prior one from the internet. I've saved a copy of the old one here: hoppocklawfirm.com/myth_vs_fact_0…
The first one, which McHenry seems to have unilaterally issued in May 2019, was met with confusion and disbelief by others in the agency, including the union representing immigration judges. They have since been decertified, so lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/…
Read 10 tweets
14 Dec 20
New policy memo from @DOJ_EOIR about implementing the "death to asylum" regulations which don't go into effect for another month and will likely be enjoined before then. justice.gov/eoir/page/file…
As others have noted, the DHS portion of the rule suffers from the same legal problem as other recent DHS regs: the DHS doesn't have a a Secretary, and Chad Wolf's appointment as "acting" secretary was unlawful.
Also, both the DHS portion and the DOJ portion are plainly inconsistent with the statute and suffer from other APA problems (including not engaging in notice and comment in good faith).
Read 13 tweets
14 Dec 20
Spent the weekend reading this 600-page CIA report on the attempts to deport suspected Nazi war criminals. Lots of bad looks here for @JusticeDept. The report is posted in multiple parts on the CIA's CREST database. I combined them and uploaded them here: ia601406.us.archive.org/19/items/cia-a…
The report details a number of instances where federal agencies protected Nazi war criminals for years when it was beneficial and not publicly embarassing. Then when they were sufficiently embarassed the DOJ OSI tried to deport them but used shady evidence supplied by the USSR.
In the case of Edgars Laipenieks, even George H. W. Bush gets in on it. By the way, the article this report cites is also available in CREST. It says Bush "refused to elaborate" further.
Read 7 tweets
11 Dec 20
Another EOIR policy memo posted yesterday eliminates some of the adjournment codes previously existing, including adjournments to allow respondents to file applications for asylum and other relief. justice.gov/eoir/page/file…
This removes Code *05 (for filing asylum app), *06 (for filing other apps), *22 (rejected earliest hearing), ǂ23 (asylum app withdrawn), 24 (DHS to complete prints), *51 (contested charges).
This memo adds two new adjournment codes related to "case flow processing" - 9V (vacated MC hrg), and TQ (case reviewed for readiness and placed in trial queue). Not sure what TQ is supposed to be for. Btw prior memo's here: justice.gov/eoir/page/file…
Read 11 tweets
11 Dec 20
New EOIR policy memo PM 12-08 on the pro bono legal services list. Acknowledges IJs are required by regulations to "advise" all responents of the availability of pro bono legal services (which the case flow processing memo would make impossible). justice.gov/eoir/page/file…
Also acknowledges that when the respondent expresses a fear of persecution, at the time of filing an asylum application the statute requires the IJ to again give the respondent a copy of the current pro bono list. See 8 USC 1158(d)(4)(B). law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/…
Again, the new case flow processing memo makes that impossible because the hearing at which represented folks will be filing the asylum application gets cancelled. And, it's not true that represented folks don't need access to pro bono counsel. Attorneys withdraw...
Read 13 tweets
11 Dec 20
Yesterday @DOJ_EOIR posted this "Request a Speaker" portal to its website. Seems this would be related to the NAIJ suit saying EOIR won't let judges speak publicly. justice.gov/eoir/webform/r…
In July, the @Imm_Judges_NAIJ sued EOIR over the policy. Judge O'Grady in the EDVA denied an injunction in August, which NAIJ appealed to the 4th Cir. NAIJ filed its brief in September. Then on Nov. 2 the Federal Labor Relations Authority decertified the union.
Then, after the union was decertified, the EOIR filed its 4th Circuit brief saying NAIJ no longer had standing to challenge the public speaking policy, which I'm linking to her. assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2042…
Read 4 tweets
9 Dec 20
This answer was wrong also, and "status dockets" are largely nonexistent. EOIR's spokesperson knew that btw. Here's a little more on "status dockets."
There's an August 16, 2019 memo PM 19-13 which says judges can but don't have to implement a "status docket" but giving guidance where judges want to implement them. It's here. justice.gov/eoir/page/file…
"status dockets" are a great idea and work very well to do what EOIR says it wants to do here. FOIA results from November, 2019 show status dockets reduce backlog and hearing wait time. cdn.muckrock.com/foia_files/201…
Read 10 tweets
9 Dec 20
To be clear, the new process is entirely illegal and probably unconstitutional. 8 CFR 1240.10(a) - (c) require a hearing where the IJ reads and explains the charging document, takes an oral pleading, determines removability. If they can't sustain, (e) lets DHS add allegations
Once removability is determined, the judge is supposed to ask the respondent to designate the country of removal. Then under (f) the judge identifies alternative country of removal. *Then* under 8 CFR 1240.11(c) the applicant gets to apply for asylum.
You can't apply for asylum from a country that the judge hasn't even identified yet. And lots of cases aren't clear about what country of removal is even going to be involved. It's not automatic. There is a designation process.
Read 6 tweets
9 Dec 20
So, highlights from the @DOJ_EOIR case flow processing call. They really don't seem to know how this is going to work. They say it's a policy all judges are required to follow but also that all judges have discretion to make decisions on how to proceed. That makes no sense ...
News from the call. 1. doesn't apply to BIA remands, 2. You have to file requests for relief from removal even if you're not removable, 3. Doesn't apply to UACs or "vulnerable populations," 4. No answer on whether it applies to MPP
Also, other than the 9 courts that have started implementing this, no answer on when the rest will. Also, she talked briefly about the "phases" of reopening post COVID but they've never said what those phases are. FOIA request pending on that.
Read 5 tweets
9 Dec 20
Live tweeting the EOIR's "case flow processing" information session. The memo that kicked this off is here. It's pretty openly unlawful, but here we are. justice.gov/eoir/page/file…
Opening with Gail Montenegro as moderator. First announcement: This process does not apply to unrepresented respondents (that's what the memo says too). Principal Deputy Chief Immigration Judge (acting) Mary Cheng will do an overview and then they'll do a Q&A.
Judge Cheng was reading a statement that repeats some of the language from memo. But Judge Cheng's audio just cut out.
Read 75 tweets
8 Dec 20
EOIR issued a new policy memo on December 4 on the filing of asylum applications. The new guidance discusses rejecting applications if any question is not answered or is "unaccompanied by the required materials." justice.gov/eoir/page/file…
There's also a lengthy discussion about how the asylum clock works (and they're renaming it "the EAD clock," although USCIS has largely dispensed with the need for an asylum clock in the new regulations it issued in August.
In any event, EOIR is eliminating the requirement that IJs ask if the person wants an "expedited" hearing for clock purposes. Image
Read 4 tweets