International Law Section Policy

Below is a list of international policies adopted by the ABA House of Delegates. Please be advised that members must follow the policy procedure and usage guidelines outlined in the American Bar Association’s Constitution and Bylaws, Rules of Procedure of the House of Delegates. The specific procedures are available on the policy homepage.


Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program. Urges the Department of Homeland Security to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program and immediately begin paroling into the United States already-approved Haitian beneficiaries of family-based visa petitions. 8/12

ABA Civil Immigration Detention Standards. Adopts the ABA Civil Immigration Detention Standards, dated August 2012, which govern the treatment of persons in the U.S. immigration detention system. 8/12

Notice of Detention Regarding the Best Interests of the Child. Urging Congress to modify immigration laws to take into account the best interests of minor children who may be affected by a parent, legal guardian, or primary caregiver’s immigration detention or removal.  8/11

Education Regarding Child Welfare and Immigration Laws.  Urging the Department of Homeland Security to revise its policies so that detained parents, legal guardians, and primary caregivers of children have meaningful participation with their attorneys at judicial proceedings involving their children; and that those involved in family and juvenile courts be educated regarding the connection between state child welfare laws and immigration laws. 8/11

Immigrant Children Screening.  Urging that unaccompanied and undocumented immigrant children in the United States, upon their apprehension by immigration authorities, be screened by independent experts to determine if they are eligible for immigration relief.  8/11

Access to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings.  Supports measures to improve access to counsel for individuals in immigration removal proceedings. 8/11

Support of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  Supporting application of the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow persons outside the United States to pursue motions to reopen or motions to reconsider removal (deportation) proceedings on the same basis and subject to the same restrictions that apply to persons who file such petitions from within the United States.  8/11

Startup Visas. Supports full implementation of legislation by Congress to provide for the creation of Startup Visa (by way of the creation of the EB-6 Visa Program, the reformation of the EB-5 Visa Program or similar creation, reformation and/or restructuring of the current U.S. immigration regime) to provide for a mechanism whereby immigrant-founders of businesses can obtain legal status in the U.S.  08/10

Immigration and Nationality Act.   Urges the Department of Homeland Security to implement specific policies and procedures within the immigration removal adjudication system and urges Congress to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act regarding the removal of noncitizens convicted of certain crimes. 02/10

Immigration Courts.   Supports measures to improve immigration courts and create a more professional, independent and accountable immigration judiciary, including a provision to increase the number of immigration judges by at least 100, increase the number of law clerks to a ratio of one clerk per judge, increase the number of support personnel and increase the number of Assistant Chief Immigration Judges, and expand their deployment to regional courts. 02/10

Board of Immigration Appeals.  Supports improving the efficiency, transparency and fairness of administrative review by the Board of Immigration Appeals through increasing the resources available to the Board, including additional staff attorneys and additional Board members.  02/10

Judicial Review of Immigration Decisions.   Supports the restoration of federal judicial review of immigration decisions and urges Congress to enact legislation to ensure that noncitizens are treated fairly in the adjudication process and also to provide oversight for the government’s decision making process. 02/10

Article I Court.  Supports the creation of an Article I court, with both trial and appellate divisions, to adjudicate immigration cases, which should have features substantially consistent with specific guidelines, or as an alternative to an Article I court, supports the creation of an independent agency for both trial and appellate functions.  02/10

Immigration Consequences of Past Criminal Convictions. Supports legislation, policies and practices that preserve the categorical approach used to determine the immigration consequences of past criminal convictions, under which the adjudicator relies on the criminal statute and the record of conviction rather than conducting a new factual inquiry into the basis for the conviction.  08/09

Legal Residence Legislation of Same-Sex Partners.  Supports the enactment of legislation and the implementation of public policy to enable a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident who shares a mutual, interdependent, committed relationship with a non-citizen of the same sex to sponsor that person for permanent residence in the United States.  02/09

International Adoption.  Supports international adoption as an integral part of a comprehensive child welfare strategy to address the worldwide problem of children without permanent homes and supports policies that make the process of international adoption timelier, less costly, and less burdensome, while ensuring that international adoption practices are ethical and legal. 08/08

Migration . Supports multinational cooperation and consultation in the formulation of national laws and policies relating to migration and urges the United States government to enter into regional and international discussions and agreements governing the flow of workers. 8/06

Immigration . Supports the due process right to counsel for all persons in removal proceedings and the availability of legal representation to all non-citizens in immigration-relatedmatters . 2/06

Immigration . Supports a regulated, orderly and safe immigration system that promotes national security, addresses the undocumented population, need for immigrant labor, value of family reunification, and the need for an effective enforcement strategy; and supports lawful permanent residence and citizenship for undocumented persons who entered the United States as minors and have significant ties to the United States. 2/06

Immigration . Urges an administrative agency structure that will provide all non-citizens with due process of law in the processing of their immigration applications and petitions, and in the conduct of their hearings or appeals, by all officials with responsibility for implementing U.S. immigration laws. 2/06

Immigration . Supports a transparent, user-friendly, accessible, fair and efficient system for administering immigration laws that has sufficient resources to carry out its functions in a timely manner. 2/06

Immigration . Opposes the detention of non-citizens in immigration removal proceedings except in extraordinary circumstances, which would include a determination, following a hearing and subject to judicial review, that a person presents a threat to national security or public safety, or presents a substantial flight risk. 2/06

Immigration . Supports the establishment of laws, policies, and practices that ensure optimum access to legal protection for refugees, asylum seekers, torture victims, and others deserving of humanitarian refuge. 2/06

Immigration . Supports avenues for lawful immigration status, employment authorization, and public benefits for victims and derivative family members, of human trafficking and other crimes described in 101(a)(15)(U)(iii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and supports the use of Legal Services Corporation funding to provide services to such victims. 2/06

Civil Immigration Laws. Urges that the Federal Government retain exclusive jurisdiction over civil immigration matters, opposes delegation of legal authority to state, territorial and local police to enforce federal civil immigration laws, and opposes criminalization of civil violations of immigration law. 2/04

Immigration . Supports legislation to provide noncitizens who both reside in the United States and demonstrate significant ties to the United States, such as employment, tax payment, family, length of residence, with an opportunity for them and their immediate relatives to acquire lawful permanent residence. That a noncitizen residing in the United States who is eligible to immigrate through family-sponsored or other provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act should be able to adjust to permanent residence in the United States rather than travel abroad for processing. That any temporary worker or legalization program guarantees basic labor rights with the ability to change employers and provide a realistic opportunity to obtain permanent resident status. 8/02

Children and Immigration . Supports the appointment of counsel at government expense for unaccompanied children for all stages of the immigration process and proceedings, favors the establishment within the DOJ of an independent office with child welfare expertise, and that children who cannot be released to family members or guardians be housed in culturally-appropriate family-like settings, not with juvenile offenders. 02/01