In April 2013, EOIR collaborated with the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency to initiate a new Nationwide Policy to provide enhanced procedural protections, including competency inquiries, mental health examinations, and bond hearings to certain unrepresented and detained respondents with serious mental disorders or conditions that may render them incompetent to represent themselves in immigration proceedings.
At the same time, and as part of the Nationwide Policy’s enhanced procedural protections, EOIR also launched the National Qualified Representative Program (NQRP), a nationwide program to provide Qualified Representatives (QRs) to certain unrepresented and detained respondents who are found by an Immigration Judge or the BIA to be mentally incompetent to represent themselves in immigration proceedings.
EOIR carries out the NQRP through a contract with the Vera Institute of Justice and local subcontracting legal service organizations to provide QRs where required. The fundamental goals of the NQRP are increased efficiency and increased fairness in immigration proceedings.
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