By Crescenzo Vellucci
Vanguard Sacramento Bureau
SACRAMENTO – The Vanguard learned late Tuesday that the U.S. Dept of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review is opening an immigration court in Sacramento to adjudicate asylum requests and removal orders.
Immigration advocates have now confirmed that Sacramento Immigration Court will open Sept. 3 in the John Moss Federal Building, 650 Capitol Mall.
The EOIR is an agency within the DoJ that adjudicates immigration cases by interpreting and administering the U.S. immigration laws. EOIR conducts immigration court proceedings, appellate reviews, and administrative hearings.
Generally, immigration advocates applauded the move when informed Tuesday evening.
“It’s a good thing to have this court here. Our accompaniment network spends a lot of time driving folks all the way to San Francisco, which is expensive. It will be a lot easier for local folks to get to their immigration court appearances with this local court opening,” said Autumn Gonzalez of NorCal Resist.
Gonzalez explained that the court “has the power to provide relief to someone who is ordered deported or to grant someone’s claim of asylum. There is a Dept. of Health services attorney on the one side who essentially acts as a prosecutor arguing for the removal, and then the other side is the migrant.”
She said her organization and others are now trying to recruit pro bono lawyers to assist migrants in the new Sacramento court.
“Immigration law is complex. Many people seeking asylum simply don’t understand the paperwork they may not be literate in English or Spanish. They can end up missing important appearances because they don’t know what they’re being asked to do…having an attorney is key,” Gonzalez said.