Thursday, March 27, 2008

What is immigration and customs enforcement?

ICE’s Office of the
Principal Legal Advisor
Within the Department of Homeland
Security (DHS), the legal program
for the U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE) is the Office of the
Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA). Under
Section 442 of the Homeland Security
Act, the Principal Legal Advisor
represents DHS in “all exclusion, deportation,
and removal proceedings.”
While U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Services (CIS) and U.S. Customs
and Border Protection (CBP) also initiate
removal proceedings, only OPLA is
authorized to prosecute those cases.
This year, OPLA trial attorneys expect
to prosecute about 300,000 removal
cases and to brief 42,000 BIA cases.
They must also appear in more than
30,000 bond hearings, respond to approximately
12,000 motions to reopen,
provide litigation support to the U.S.
Attorney’s Offices, and assist with reinstatements,
administrative removals,
and expedited removals. OPLA’s 840
employees make it by far DHS’ largest
legal program.

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