Immigration and the State Courts

AOC partners with Center for Public Policy Studies to examine impacts of immigration on court processes

The Center for Public Policy Studies (CPPS), a non-profit research organization based in Denver, CO, is engaged in a multi-year study of the impacts of immigration on state court operations.

In conjunction with the State Justice Institute, CPPS rolled out the Immigration and the State Courts initiative in 2008, and Georgia is the first southern jurisdiction selected to participate.  The goal is to assess the impacts of immigration on state courts and provide technical assistance for addressing the challenges, as well as align with other court and justice system reform and improvement efforts.

The four strategic priorities of the Immigration and the State Courts Initiative are:
·     Increasing understanding and awareness about the impacts of immigration in the state courts;
·     Developing and testing state and local approaches for assessing and addressing the impact of immigration in the state courts;
·     Enhancing state and local court capacity to improve court services affected by immigration; and
·     Building effective national, state, and local partnerships for addressing the impact of immigration in the state courts.  (Center for Public Policy, 2011)
The AOC welcomed CPPS project staff John Martin and Steven Weller for an initial assessment visit on September 7-8, 2011.  This visit consisted of a meeting with an informal advisory group of representatives from the courts, immigration law, legal and social services, and AOC staff to give an initial perspective ofthe range and scope of immigration-related demands on Georgia’s courts and discuss options to address them.  Mr. Martin and Mr. Weller returned to Georgia the week of November 7 to meet with AOC staff and conduct the project’s first site visit in Moultrie where they met local officials and representatives to discuss the impact of immigration on the local justice system.  Key issues discussed at the Moultrie visit included language access, understanding of the intersections of state and federal immigration law and policy, and the difficulties faced when dealing with a transient population.  Potential methods for addressing these issues include the development of trainings, guidelines, and guidebooks for judges and other justice system personnel.

The project staff is scheduled to return in January 2012 to continue collecting information through further interviews with relevant state-level associations of justice system officials.  Future site visits to suburban and urban locations are being discussed as well.  More information about this initiative may be found on the project website at  AOC will continue to work on this project through 2012.

For more information on this project, contact Tracy Powell at or(404) 463-0040.


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