Safeguards in Removal Proceedings for Noncitizens Who Lack Mental Competency
Each year, untold numbers of noncitizens with mental disabilities are ordered deported without access to counsel or an assessment of their cognitive capabilities. This issue has taken on greater urgency following extensive reports of the challenges that immigrants who lack mental competency face in removal proceedings, as well as alarming accounts of the mistaken deportation of U.S. citizens with mental disabilities. The LAC has intervened in several cases at the Board of Immigration Appeals to address the scope of procedural safeguards needed to ensure fair hearings for noncitizens who lack mental competency.
Matter of E-S-I- (BIA 2013) (decision pending). The LAC filed an amicus brief with AILA and other organizations, arguing that noncitizens with serious mental disorders cannot receive fair hearings without legal representation and that they are entitled to this representation from the outset of proceedings.
Matter of L-T- (BIA) (appeal dismissed Nov. 8, 2010). The LAC filed an amicus brief with the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Pennsylvania Immigrant Resource Center. Read our statement on the case.
Letter to the Acting Inspector General and the Assistant Inspector General for Inspections (submitted June 14, 2011). This sign-on letter responds to the Office of Inspector General's report on Management of Mental Health Cases in Immigration Detention (OIG-11-62) and offers additional recommendations to improve the delivery of mental health care in immigration detention.
Letter to DOJ (submitted October 29, 2010). This sign-on letter recommends concrete steps that DOJ can take to address difficulties confronted by detained noncitizens with mental disabilities in immigration proceedings.
Letter to DHS (submitted October 29, 2010). This sign-on letter recommends concrete steps that DHS can take to address difficulties confronted by detained noncitizens with mental disabilities in immigration proceedings.
Letter to Attorney General Holder (submitted July 24, 2009). This letter requests that the Department of Justice implement safeguards to protect the rights of respondents with mental disabilities.
LAC Practice Advisory: Representing Clients with Mental Competency Issues under Matter of M-A-M- (November 30, 2011). This Practice Advisory provides a detailed analysis of the BIA's precedent decision in Matter of M-A-M- and offers strategic advice on how to address issues that may arise in the context of representing noncitizens with mental competency issues.
LAC Press Release: LAC Issues Practice Advisory on Representing Clients with Mental Competency Issues (November 30, 2011).
LAC Press Release: BIA Provides Important but Incomplete Guidance on Mental Competency in Matter of M-A-M, 25 I&N Dec. 474 (BIA 2011).
LAC Litigation Issue Page: Noncitizens with Mental Competency Issues in Removal Proceedings.
Immigration Policy Center report: “Non-Citizens with Mental Disabilities: The Need for Better Care in Detention and in Court.”