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Direct from Immigration Court: Human Rights Defender Project Report on Court Observations

The Human Rights Defender Project observes master calendar and bond hearings at the Fort Snelling Immigration Court, in Minnesota, for immigrants held in ICE detention. The primary purpose of the HRDP is to bring accountability and transparency to immigration court. Volunteer court observers also refer cases for representation and possible litigation, collaborate on interdisciplinary research, use their experiences to change the public narrative around immigration, and advocate for policy change. Volunteers come from a range of background from high school and college students to working adults and retired professionals. The vast majority had no prior legal or court observation experience before volunteering with this project.

This report is compiled from the data of 2,664 observations of 1,561 unique hearings between September 1, 2019- February 29, 2020. One hundred ten individual volunteer court observers recorded observations during reporting period. The number of hearings observed per individual court observer ranged from 3 to 225.