FOIA Disclosures on the EOIR Recognition and Accreditation (R&A) Program
The Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review, or EOIR, Recognition and Accreditation Program provides federally tax-exempt non-profit entities in the United States permission to practice immigration law through non-attorneys. Once EOIR recognizes an organization as qualified to provide immigration legal services through non-attorney staff members or volunteers, EOIR will consider applications for accreditation from non-attorneys working or volunteering at the recognized organization to represent noncitizens before the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, only (partial accreditation) or before DHS and EOIR (full accreditation). Once accredited by EOIR, the “Accredited Representatives” may provide immigration legal services only through the “Recognized Organization” specified on their accreditation application.
CLINIC submitted two Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, requests to the EOIR seeking data and records on (1) the adjudication of recognition applications filed by non-profit organizations and accreditation applications filed by individuals working or volunteering for a recognized organization, (2) representation in immigration court proceedings by fully accredited representatives, and (3) the disciplinary actions against accredited representatives.
With regard to the adjudication of recognition and accreditation cases, EOIR responded with charts documenting the number of applications approved, disapproved, and the average time (in days) from receipt of application until the agency made a determination to approve or disapprove the application. Additionally, EOIR stated that it does not track the reasons for disapproval of an application or for termination of recognition or accreditation, but the agency did provide a list of possible reasons regarding why it might take such actions.
EOIR also provided data on representation by an accredited representative in immigration court proceedings in the form of spreadsheets broken down by year, court, and detained status. The spreadsheets reflect the number of cases handled by an accredited representative and the outcome of the matters.
EOIR disclosed disciplinary action data for both attorneys and accredited representatives, but did not distinguish which complaints referred to attorneys and which complaints pertained to accredited representatives. This disciplinary action data includes complaint date and type, source information, last action on the complaint, allegation charge, and found charges.
To access the FOIA requests, disclosures, and key takeaways from the disclosures, please select the relevant document:
- Key Takeaways from Freedom of Information Act Request on Office of Legal Access Programs (OLAP) and the Recognition and Accreditation Program
- FOIA Request to DOJ EOIR for Records Regarding the R&A Program dated May 20, 2020
- FOIA Request to DOJ EOIR for Records Regarding the R&A Program dated January 22, 2019
- R&A EOIR Disclosures - Merged Office of Legal Access Programs (OLAP) FOIA Disclosures
- R&A EOIR Disclosures - Merged EOIR Representation Spreadsheets
- R&A EOIR Disclosures - Attorney and Accredited Representative EOIR Disciplinary Action Data from 01/01/2016 to 03/30/2018
- R&A EOIR Disclosures - Attorney and Accredited Representative EOIR Disciplinary Action Data from 01/01/2019 to 07/31/2020