TV-Only Immigration Hearings Spur Court Challenge

Seeking to mandate human interaction in immigration cases, the Legal Aid Society filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday night with help from the Brooklyn Defender Services and Bronx Defenders.

News Story (NATIONAL, New York)

Adam Klasfeld
Courthouse News Service
February 13, 2019

Tags: Immigration Process, Lawsuit: Federal

Organizations mentioned/involved: Bronx Defenders, Brooklyn Defender Services, Legal Aid Society (New York City)


“In-person hearings had long helped ensure detained immigrants an opportunity to fully access the courts and participate in their removal proceedings,” the 59-page complaint states. “The ICE NY Field Office had never previously engaged in a broad refusal to produce individuals for in-person hearings.”

Representing six anonymous clients, the civil rights groups claim that the switch to CCTV occurred “without warning” on June 27, 2018.

“Technical failures have been rampant, preventing detained immigrants from seeing, hearing, or understanding what is happening in the courtroom,” the complaint states. “These problems result in frequent delays and are compounded when detained immigrants require foreign language interpretation services or accommodations due to disabilities.”