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The Immigration Court’s Institutional Hearing Program: How Will It Be Affected

“Special Immigration Court hearings under the court’s Institutional Hearing Program (IHP) appear slated for expansion under President Trump. A new directive, signed by Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Monday, February 20, 2017 provides that “to the maximum extent possible” removal proceedings be initiated against noncitizens currently “incarcerated in federal, state, and local correctional facilities.” Such court removal proceedings are carried out through the Department of Justice’s Institutional Hearing Program within the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). Through this program, immigration judges determine whether noncitizens are deportable while they are still incarcerated and serving their sentence. The IHP program has been in existence for over 35 years. An analysis by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University of case-by-case court records shows that under previous presidents more than 200,000 individuals have been processed through this program. This special TRAC report examines the operation this program from FY 1980 through FY 2016. IHP court records reveal both a dramatic growth and then precipitous fall in the number of individuals handled through this system. These trends may prove instructive in helping to assess the impact of this new DHS directive on the court’s workload. To see the full report go to:”

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