October 15, 2008
EOIR Adds 12 New Legal Orientation Program Sites
Significantly Expands Education of Detained Aliens on Legal Process, Rights, and Options
FALLS CHURCH, Va. – The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) announced today that 12 new Legal Orientation Program (LOP) sites will become operational by December. The new sites will bolster efforts to inform detained aliens in immigration removal proceedings about the legal process, their rights, and available legal options.
EOIR contracts with nonprofit organizations to carry out LOP services at various detention facilities across the country that are used by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold aliens. Many of these detained aliens are in immigration proceedings before EOIR. LOP services include group rights presentations and individual orientation sessions to detained aliens prior to their initial hearings in immigration court. In addition to providing detained aliens with a basic understanding of their legal situation, the LOP provides access to self-help legal resources and assistance in obtaining pro bono representation. To date, the LOP has served more than 130,000 detainees since it started in 2003.
The 12 new LOP sites (listed below) are located primarily at large detention facilities across the country. They will significantly expand the program successes achieved by the 13 existing LOP sites, which served about one-fourth of all detainees who appeared before EOIR’s immigration courts this past year.
By helping detained aliens in EOIR proceedings to make wiser decisions about their cases earlier in their court proceeding, the LOP improves court efficiency. According to a recent evaluation report by the Vera Institute, the nonprofit organization that administers the LOP for EOIR, LOP participants:
The 12 new program sites are located at detention facilities in: Florence, Ariz.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Miami, Fla.; Lumpkin, Ga.; Jena, La.; Newark, N.J.; Chaparral, N.M.; Leesport, Pa.; Raymondville, Texas; and Farmville, Portsmouth, and Hanover, Va.
The 13 current LOP sites are located at detention facilities in: Eloy, Ariz.; Lancaster and San Diego, Calif.; Aurora, Colo.; Kearny and New Brunswick, N.J.; Batavia, N.Y.; York, Pa.; El Paso, Houston, Pearsall, and Port Isabel, Texas; and Tacoma, Wash.
The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is an agency within the Department of Justice. Under delegated authority from the Attorney General, immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals interpret and adjudicate immigration cases according to United States immigration laws. EOIR’s immigration judges conduct administrative court proceedings in immigration courts located throughout the nation. They determine whether foreign-born individuals—who are charged by the Department of Homeland Security with violating immigration law—should be ordered removed from the United States or should be granted relief from removal and be permitted to remain in this country. The Board of Immigration Appeals primarily reviews appeals of decisions by immigration judges. EOIR’s Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer adjudicates immigration-related employment cases. EOIR is committed to ensuring fairness in all of the cases it adjudicates.
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