Don't Count on Getting Up-to-Date Information From Immigration Court Toll-Free Telephone Lines

EOIR phone system been down for weeks, no end in sight.

Technology can make bureacratic processes so much easier to navigate! Except, that is, when it stops working.

Such is the case with the computer sytem that provides court docketing and other case-organizing for the U.S. immigration courts (or Executive Office for Immigration Review or EOIR). According to the article, "Computer problems lead to immigration court hassles, scrutiny on  resources," by Tovin Lapan in the Las Vegas Sun, the system has been down since April 12, with no firm indication of when it will be restored.

That's bad news for anyone hoping to find out information that was formerly available from the EOIR's automated phone system (at either 1-800-898-7180 or 240-314-1500), such as:

  • the date, time, and location of their next immigration court hearing
  • information about the processing of their case
  • how the immigration judge decided on their case or motion, and on what date
  • case-specific information about appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), such as the due dates to file an appeal or submit a brief, and the BIA's decision and date, and
  • other filing information.

But it's more than just callers who are affected. The court itself can't always keep track of necessary information, for example to enter an immigrant's new address into the system for purposes of advising the person of an upcoming hearing date.

The only people for whom this might be good news are immigrants who'd like their removal case to be delayed as long as possible, given that delayed hearings have been another result of the problem. On the other side of the coin, detained immigrants are in some cases having to remain confined longer than they otherwise would.

An in-person visit to your nearest immigration court might help you obtain some types of information. Also keep in close touch with your attorney, if you have one, until the problem is resolved.