Immigration Court Operations in Year One of the COVID-19 Pandemic

In the 2020-2021 school year, nearly 100 students from over a dozen IRAP law school chapters tracked the U.S. immigration courts’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Relying mainly on government alerts and news reports, these students followed court closures and policies and archived hundreds of captures of the government’s Operational Status Map through the Wayback Machine (a tool of the non-profit digital library the Internet Archive). Their hope was that this work might be helpful to non-U.S. citizens and their advocates when dealing with the fallout of pandemic-related court disruptions.

This site compiles and organizes information about publicly announced immigration court operations between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. Though we endeavored to completely and accurately record reports from the relevant period, we encourage visitors to refer back to the original sources. These include the Facebook page, Twitter account, and archived copies of the website (available here and here through Wayback Machine) of the Executive Office for Immigration Review–the government agency that oversees the immigration courts, as well as the tracking tool of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

This site also hosts records pertaining to closures and court policies that we are in the process of obtaining from the government under the Freedom of Information Act. Data produced to date suggest that tens of thousands of people were affected by court closures in the relevant period and that myriad closures were never announced on the government’s email and social media channels.

We owe special thanks to the American Immigration Lawyers Association–particularly the members of the Executive Office for Immigration Review Liaison Committee–for guidance in developing this project and for sharing information from their own tracking tool.