Chicago Appleseed - Fund for Justice

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Immigration Court Reform

The Chicago Council of Lawyers and Chicago Appleseed sponsor a joint Advisory Committee on Immigration court reform.

Landmark Reports on Immigration Courts

  • In 2009, Chicago Appleseed with National Appleseed and its pro bono partners, Latham & Watkins LLC and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP released a comprehensive report on the immigration courts, Assembly Line Injustice. Since the release of this report, some of our recommendations have been implemented, including hiring new immigration court judges having backgrounds other than as serving as Department of Homeland Security trial counsel, designating a specific Assistant Chief Immigration Judge to be responsible for training, and creating a website link for public complaints about unprofessional immigration judge conduct.
  • In 2012, in collaboration with the same partners, Chicago Appleseed released our latest report, Reimagining the Immigration Court Assembly Line: Transformative Change for the Immigration Justice System.

Legislative Success in U.S. Senate

  • Working with U.S. Senator Chris Coons, Appleseed, Chicago Appleseed and our pro bono partner, Akin Gump, successfully saw the approval of an amendment to S.744 which incorporates our longstanding position that immigrants should not have to file Freedom of Information Act requests in Immigration Court to receive their own records. This amendment will make the system fairer, more efficient, and save more than $10 million tax dollars each year.

National Forum

  • On November 3, 2014, we will be sponsoring along with the National Immigrant Justice Center, LAF, Valparaiso Law School, and other community partners a symposium: Is Chicago Ready for Change? Exploring New Models for Immigration Court and Access to Counsel For Immigrants. Featured speakers include Judge Robert Katzmann, Chief Judge of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Ann Williams and Judge Richard Posner from the Seventh Circuit, and Oren Root from the VERA Institute in New York.

For more information, please contact Executive Director Malcolm Rich, at or 312-988-6552