Engaging federal agencies to launch a program

When possible, providers can engage with federal agencies such as the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), educate them about the launch of a program, and secure their collaboration. The willingness of EOIR and ICE personnel to engage varies greatly by jurisdiction and may be dictated by national guidance, but their participation can provide useful benefits, such as improving a provider’s ability to identify eligible clients as early as possible and obtaining documents important for zealous representation.

Programs can work with EOIR to secure interview space for attorney-client meetings, to obtain the court docket before hearings, and to identify unrepresented people for intake. Similarly, programs can work with ICE or a detention facility to get approval to hang posters or flyers notifying people of the program and explaining how to access services. Per national detention standards, providers may also work with ICE to provide group presentations in a detention center.U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), National Detention Standards for Non-Dedicated Facilities (Revised 2019) (Washington, DC: ICE, 2019), 191-193, https://perma.cc/9ZYL-H428. Finally, programs can engage the Office of Chief Counsel—the attorneys representing the government in deportation proceedings—to secure a commitment to providing important documents related to clients’ cases (such as the initial charging documents) prior to the first master calendar hearing. This allows an attorney to review the record more fully and better advise clients of their options before the first hearing, resulting in a more meaningful hearing and the ability to advance a person’s case more quickly.