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Affirmance Without Opinion: BIA Cure Worse Than Appellate Disease


On July 2, 2019, the Department of Justice published amended rules governing appeals of immigration court decisions. The new rules take effect September 3, 2019.

The rules attempt to resuscitate Affirmance Without Opinion, a BIA procedure discredited during the Bush and Obama administrations.

The problem?

Affirmance Without Opinion (AWO) sacrifices constitutional due process for political expediency.

In the name of justice.
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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…]

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.
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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…]

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 Lawful 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.

The statement omitted any references to lawful permanent residents.

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More Bark Than Bite: Exaggerated Promises Of Padilla v. Kentucky


Last summer I cheered when Padilla v. Kentucky was announced.

As a green card lawyer, I thought the Supreme Court had provided immigrants with a new weapon against unfair deportations.

Over the past 14 years, far too many lawful permanent residents have plead guilty to criminal charges without knowing the convictions would lead to automatic deportation from the U.S. [continue reading…]