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Why Pereira v. Sessions Is Important For Cancellation Of Removal Cases

The Supreme Court has spoken.

Immigration officers can no longer place someone in immigration court hearings to face removal charges without telling them where and when to appear. [continue reading…]

Appellate Justice: Federal Court Right To Fight, Not To Halt Deportation


By the middle of my first year of law school, I considered writing a book about the absurdities of legal logic.

Even from my rookie standpoint, I discerned legal reasoning often led to incompatible results among factually similar cases.

Now, having practiced immigration law for a few decades, I can attest that even legal policies regarding the same subject matter can move in contrary directions. [continue reading…]

Misery Loves Immigrant Company


She must have woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

Immigration judges often do.

Or so it seems.

What else can explain such contentious and rude attitudes at 8:00 a.m. in the morning?

After all, tempers should be held in check until a lawyer or an immigrant gives the judge a reason to come unglued. [continue reading…]

Deportation Fair Play Reinstated


A few weeks ago, the American Civil Liberties Union and the U.S. government reached a historic immigration class action settlement in Lopez-Venegas v. Johnson.

  • Immigration officers and border agents will stop pressuring undocumented immigrants in Southern California to sign off on their own deportations.
  • In addition, some deportees will become eligible to return from Mexico to seek U.S. permanent residency.

A few words summarized my reaction to the news.

About time.

As an immigration appeals attorney, I have long suspected the less-than-honest behavior by government agents.
[continue reading…]

Immigration Appeals: 49 Minutes For Justice, Fairness, And Due Process


According to the Department of Justice, the Board of Immigration Appeals completed 36,690 cases in 2013.

There are 15 Board members.

On the average, this means 2,446 decisions per Board member per year.

203 decisions per Board member per month.

Assuming a 40 hour week, 50 weeks per year, each Board member works 2,000 hours per year.

That’s 49 minutes per case.

In a best case scenario. [continue reading…]

INA 212(h) Victory For Lawful Permanent Residents


The crossover between immigration and criminal law continues to plague many immigrant families, often separating loved ones for life.

Once immigrants are charged with having committed an aggravated felony, they are left with limited recourse to relief from deportation and removal.

Meanwhile, changes to deportation law are not on the immigration reform agenda.

Lately, various courts like the Ninth Circuit of Appeals have begun opening doors of hope for such immigrant defendants. [continue reading…]

Putting Bite Into Padilla v. Kentucky: Cracking The Constitutional Code


Recently, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court held that all immigrants convicted of crimes since April 1, 1997 can seek to reverse those convictions.

In order to prevail, immigrants must show their lawyers gave them bad advice about the impact a conviction would have on their immigration status. [continue reading…]

The Battle For Immigration Justice: Why Compassion Matters


I wanted to retire.

I felt unmotivated to fight.

I knew my clients deserved better. They were facing deportation, a near life-or-death situation, and they needed a warrior.

My passion for law had disappeared.

My mother had passed away.

Fighting my own mental and emotional wounds, I had nothing left over to give to others. [continue reading…]

Why The Judulang v. Holder Decision Is Important For Permanent Residents

April 1, 1997. The day deportation defense died.


Left in a coma-like state by Newt Gingrich and his Congressional cronies, the concept of fairness in immigration law became a political farce, if not a national tragedy.

The implementation of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsbility Act (IIRAIRA), as noted in Newt Gingrich: The Grinch Who Stole Immigration Reform, was intended to eliminate nearly every avenue of legalization for immigrants.

At the time, I was an immigration lawyer in Escondido. I knew we had officially entered the dark ages of immigration law. There was no turning back. The gauntlet had been thrown down. It was fight or flight time.

Among the casualties, section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. [continue reading…]

Holder v. Gutierrez: A New Attack On Permanent Residents


When it comes to immigration law, what the Obama administration giveth, the Obama administration taketh away.

In mid-August, the administration announced it would suspend deportations against undocumented immigrants if they did not pose a national security or public safety threat.

According to President Obama’s press statement, the goal of the new policy would be to identify and remove low priority deportation cases from the immigration system.

However, immigration reform talk by this administration is rarely reliable. Without concrete details, the press statement is just another cheap political publicity stunt. [continue reading…]