ABA Policies on Immigration Issues

ABA Policy Established at the 2017 Midyear Meeting in Miami, Florida

10BReaffirms policies with respect to admittance of refugees and asylum seekers. [video]

10C - Urges the Executive Branch to observe certain provisions with respect to border security. [video]

113 - Urges the United States Department of State to interpret the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1401, to recognize those children born to intended parents, even if those legally recognized parents do not have a biological (genetic or gestational) relationship to the child, so long as at least one of the intended parents is a U.S. citizen who is legally recognized as the child’s parent by the country of birth or the intended parents state of domicile and the relevant resident or physical presence requirements are met.

301 - Urges Congress to protect due process and provide safeguards for immigrant, asylum-seeking children who entered the United States without parents. [video]

ABA Policy Established at the 2010 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California

100C - Urges federal, state, territorial, tribal and local governments to provide funding to state and federal public defender offices and legal aid programs specifically for the provision of immigration advice about the immigration consequences of criminal proceedings to indigent non-U.S. citizen defendants, and about any available relief from such consequences.

104 - Adopts the ABA Model Access Act, dated August 2010, which is a model statute for implementing jurisdictions to establish and administer a civil right to counsel, consistent with ABA policy adopted in August 2006.

300 - Supports full implementation of legislation by Congress to provide for the creation of Start-up 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.

ABA Policy Established at the 2010 Midyear Meeting in Orlando, Florida

The following five policies 114a – 114f were derived from the report: Reforming the Immigration System: Proposals to Promote Independence, Fairness, Efficiency, and Professionalism in the Adjudication of Removal Cases which was prepared by Arnold & Porter LLP for the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration.  The report seeks to determine how the existing system is working and identifies reforms to improve the system, focusing on four major government entities and two areas that pertain to the system as a whole: (1) the Department of Homeland Security, (2) immigration judges and the immigration courts, (3) the Board of Immigration Appeals, (4) the federal circuit courts of appeals, (5) representation in removal proceedings, and (6) system restructuring.  The report provides many recommendations for incremental changes to the immigration removal adjudication system, and also considers major structural changes that would make the system independent of any existing executive branch department or agency. These changes would address widespread concerns regarding both political independence and adjudicatory fairness, while promoting greater efficiency and professionalism within the immigration judiciary.  

The full report and executive summary are available to download online.

114A – 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.   

114B – 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.          

114C – 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.         

114D – 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.            

114F – 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.       

104 - Urges the United States, state and territorial governments to work to ensure that the fundamental protections of Article 36 to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (“Article 36”) are extended fully and without obstacle to foreign nationals within United States borders.