MIRA staff, including members of the Legal Project, are working remotely and continuing to defend and expand immigrant rights at this challenging time.
Complicating matters is the fact that USCIS Offices remain closed and don’t plan to reopen until around June 4th. They suspended in-person services in most field offices, but continue to provide mission-critical services that don’t require in-person activity.
At the same time, some immigration courts are open and some are closed, making it difficult to move forward with cases. Hearings for non-detained cases are postponed through May 29th, while cases for detained persons are continuing—but with complicated arrangements such as video and phone conferences.
MIRA Legal Project Director Attorney Patricia Ice filed her first case in the Federal District Court in Mississippi along with attorney Virginia Raymond, who is based in Austin, TX. The lawsuit, a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus, requested that a Cameroonian immigrant be released from detention. The suit was filed against several people, and the magistrate judge in the case has dismissed the complaints for all defendants except for the warden of the facility in which the immigrant is held.
The MIRA Legal Project has become a member of ASISTA, an organization that helps attorneys and advocates assist immigrant victims of trafficking and domestic violence.