In a recent press release, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) spoke out to let people know the Executive Office for Immigration Review (“EOIR”) while, fixing the recent immigration court computer failure, is still badly underfunded. The EOIR is the federal office established to adjudicate immigration cases by “fairly, expeditiously, and uniformly interpreting and administering the Nation’s immigration laws.” In this case, the EOIR was unable to do anything in a uniform manner with a failed computer system and lack of system failure preparedness.
When the system goes down the show comes to a halt and the calendars pile up.
A hardware failure caused most application of the EOIR computer system to shut down at the stroke of midnight April 12. The system was down for almost six weeks, leading many to question how a failure of this magnitude could happen. Data recovery specialists and teams worked to recover and restore data and applications according to news published on its website on May 19, 2014. In restoring the system, IT teams worked to create new elements of information redundancy and monitoring to guard against future system issues.
Because of the computer failure, many immigrants in the court system have further rescheduled court dates in a backlogged system. AILA President Doug Stump stated, “We cheered the announcement this week that some initial fixes have been made. But the reality is that the breakdown delayed cases and created unnecessary bottlenecks.”
There are thousands of immigrant court respondents affected by the system failure.
The New York Post reported on the “computer meltdown” and noted how immigration courts had to use pen, paper and cassette tapes to manage cases manually without the computer system. Unable to access information on cases, some courts had to make decisions without full knowledge of particular cases before them.
Others did not get a pass or benefit of the doubt when the computers crashed. One immigration lawyer said it was like going back to the 80s. Lawyers were delayed and rescheduled, along with their clients when the system backlog prevented many from knowing if their case would actually be called when scheduled and if called, would anything be able to take place. This causes a huge problem for immigrant respondents with time sensitive matters and deadlines. A toll free phone number with case information has been playing the following message, “Due to system issues, the information on this has not been updated since midnight on April 12, 2014.”
What do you do if your case was delayed?
If your immigration court proceeding was affected and you either were not able to appear before the immigration court as scheduled or if nothing happened due to an inability to make an official record of proceedings you may need to take action with an attorney to file the necessary paperwork to assure you will receive a fair immigration hearing and due process allowed by law. Chicago immigration attorney, KiKi M. Mosley has been tracking this serious situation in and out of court and can help you if you have been affected by the immigration court system meltdown.
Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues including hearings before immigration courts and applications and procedures to correct clients’ records when things do not go as planned. For more information about the law firm, please visit www.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.
 AILA: Immigration Court Computer Failure Emphasizes Need for Increased Funding. Released May 21, 2014.
 The U.S. Department of Justice website for the Executive Office for Immigration Review: EOIR Home.
 The U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review, EOIR News of System Update, Monday, May 19, 2014.
 See AILA article above.
 Politico Blogs, Immigration court tech crash drags on. By Josh Gerstein, May 14, 2012.