Eighth Circuit Victory for Unaccompanied Immigrant ChildrenJune 15, 2011
The Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (ILCM) congratulates pro bono co-counsel Anna Petosky and Randall Tietjen of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi for their outstanding work with ILCM on behalf of our client before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
Yesterday, in Sandoval v. Holder, No. 09-3600, the Eighth Circuit granted our petition for review and remanded to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), instructing the BIA to address whether unaccompanied alien children can be subject to permanent inadmissibility for making a false claim of U.S. citizenship. As the Eighth Circuit noted, the draconian penalty for false citizenship claims has been described as the “immigration version of the death penalty.” The Eighth Circuit also asked the BIA to consider an important alternative issue: if unaccompanied children can be subject to inadmissibility for false claims of U.S. citizenship, must the BIA apply a more liberal rule for timely recantation of such statements that takes into account their relative immaturity?
At age 16, while traveling alone, Ms. Sandoval presented her U.S. citizen sister’s birth certificate to airport inspectors. Ms. Sandoval was an unaccompanied alien child at the time, she quickly admitted her true identity when questioned by inspectors, and she was then allowed to withdraw her application for admission. Even so, the BIA declared her permanently inadmissible for making a false claim of U.S. citizenship and twice refused to answer our arguments that (1) Congress could not have intended the harshest immigration penalty designed for adults to apply to vulnerable children given the special treatment it requires of children throughout the rest of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and, (2) at a minimum, a more lenient rule for timely recantation must be applied to unaccompanied children. Our appeal brief is available here.
The Eighth Circuit’s remand presents an important opportunity to advocate for the just treatment of unaccompanied children before the BIA. ILCM now looks forward to working with allies from around the country to win a positive decision.Read more...
American Immigration Lawyers Association files amicus brief in support of ILCM appealApril 15, 2011
On April 11, 2011, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) filed this amicus brief in support of ILCM's pending appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals, Matter of Mansour. The question presented is whether an individual "grandfathered" under INA section 245(i) remains grandfathered and eligible for secition 245(i) adjustment of status regardless of whether he or she adjusts status under another provsion of the INA. ILCM and AILA both ask the BIA to publish a precedential decision in Mansour to clarify this important issue of law.Read more...
Eighth Circuit remands important asylum case; Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. joins ILCM in litigation on behalf of Guatemalan victims of gender violenceMarch 31, 2011
On March 28, 2011, the Eighth Circuit remanded the important asylum appeal, C-R-P- v. Holder, for further consideration by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). The BIA will now reconsider whether "Guatemalan women" is a valid "particular social group" whose members are eligible for asylum protection. Adam Welle of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi has agreed to join ILCM as pro bono co-counsel in the remanded proceedings. A positive BIA decision could extend the reach of our asylum laws to the benefit of many victims of severe sexual violence. Prominent immigrant rights organizations including the National Immigrant Justice Center, the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, and the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program plan to file amicus briefs in support of our client.Read more...
SCOTUS blog features Ochoa v. Holder; law professors file amicus briefMarch 08, 2011
Today, SCOTUS blog featured ILCM's pending petition for certiorari in Ochoa v. Holder as its "petition of the day." On February 18, 2011, a group of prominent administrative law professors filed this amicus brief in support of the Ochoa petition. The Supreme Court will consider the petition in conference prior to the end of the current term in June.Read more...
ILCM, Gray Plant Mooty, and Latham & Watkins LLP petition U.S. Supreme Court for review in Ochoa v. HolderJanuary 18, 2011
Today, ILCM and Gray Plant Mooty, along with Latham & Watkins, LLP, filed this petition for certiorari with the United States Supreme Court, seeking review of the Eighth Circuit's decision in Ochoa v. Holder, 604 F.3d 546 (8th Cir. 2010). ILCM and Gray Plant Mooty previously filed this petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc with the Eighth Circuit.
The questions presented are (1) whether federal courts are categorically incompetent to review a Board of Immigration Appeals decision denying a motion to reopen removal proceedings sua sponte, even where that decision applies a legal standard, on the ground that such decisions are “committed to agency discretion by law" under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. Sec. 701(a)(2); and (2) whether the Eighth Circuit erred by disregarding the BIA’s stated grounds for its decision, in conflict with SEC v. Chenery Corp., 318 U.S. 80 (1943), and the decisions of other circuit courts of appeals.
At stake is the authority of the federal courts to review a broad range of discretionary decisions made by immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals. If accepted by the Supreme Court, the case could also impact judicial review of executive agency actions far beyond the immmigration context.Read more...
ILCM thanks our pro bono litigators for another successful year!December 28, 2010
ILCM celebrates the end of a second successful year for the Pro Bono Litigation Project. A huge thank you to all of our outstanding volunteer attorneys who together provided over 800 hours of pro bono assistance to ILCM's clients in 2010:
Gray Plant Mooty (Dean Eyler, Craig Brandt, Matthew Plowman, Sisto Bediako, Matthew Webster)
Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. (Anna Petosky, Randall Tietjen, Kate Bruce, Katherine Barrett Wiik)
Leonard Street and Deinard (David Crosby, Arthur Boylan)
Latham & Watkins L.L.P. (Lori Alvino McGill, Travis Mallen, Kerry Dingle, Richard Bress)
Angela Bortel, Bortel Law Firm
Bruce Nestor, DeLeon and Nestor
Gregory Bachmeier, Attorney at Law
Charlene D'Cruz, Esq.Read more...
Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, L.L.P., and ILCM file suit on behalf of Guatemalan asylum seekerNovember 10, 2010
On November 9, 2010, ILCM and Kate Bruce of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. filed this complaint in federal district court on behalf of Guatemalan asylum seeker Jose Molina-Jerez. Our suit seeks to enforce Mr. Molina-Jerez's rights under the settlement agreement to the famous class-action lawsuit, American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh, 760 F. Supp. 796 (N.D. Cal. 1991). The "ABC" settlement extended important protections to thousands of Central American refugees whose asylum applications the government had unlawfully rejected during the 1980s and 1990s. In 1997 Congress passed legislation giving ABC class members special opportunities to apply for permanent residence. Mr. Molina's long battle to vindicate his rights under the ABC agreement is detailed in the Eighth Circuit's recent decision, Molina Jerez v. Holder, 625 F.3d 1058 (8th Cir. 2010).Read more...
Judge Diana Murphy participates in ILCM's 2nd annual Eighth Circuit Immigration Practice CLEOctober 30, 2010
Yesterday, the Honorable Diana Murphy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit took part in ILCM's 2nd annual Eighth Circuit Immigration Practice CLE. The program was held at the Warren E. Burger Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in downtown St. Paul. Judge Murphy fielded questions about briefing, motions, and oral argument, among other topics. Also participating was the Court's Deputy-In-Charge, Maureen Watz Gornik, who reviewed recent amendments to the Court's rules of procedure on a panel with ILCM's pro bono litigation project director, Benjamin Casper. Our thanks to Judge Murphy and Maureen for allowing ILCM to hold the program on site at the court, and for so generously donating their time.Read more...
Leonard, Street and Deinard authors ILCM amicus brief in support of immigrant victims of attorney fraudOctober 13, 2010
Yesterday pro bono attorneys David Crosby and Arthur Boylan filed this amicus brief in support of a pending petition for rehearing in Pafe v. Holder, 615 F.3d 967(8th Cir. 2010). ILCM requests that the Eighth Circuit reconsider its opinion, which held that Ms. Pafe, an asylum applicant who was a victim of fraud by two successive immigration attorneys, was not entitled to reopen her asylum case despite the egregious ineffective assistance of both prior lawyers. The court ruled that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) properly denied Pafe's motion to reopen because she did not act with sufficient dilligence in bringing the fraud of her prior attorneys to the attention of an immigration judge. Our brief argues in favor of Judge Bright's dissent, which recognizes that attorney fraud should be considered an exceptional circumstance in the analysis of dilligence, since such fraud will prevent most immigrants, like Ms. Pafe, from understanding that their rights have been compromised.Read more...
Board of Immigration Appeals restores humanitarian relief to immigrants convicted of petty crimes in Minnesota - a victory for ILCM and Gray Plant Mooty.August 25, 2010
— On August 13, 2010, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) issued a precedential opinion Matter of Pedroza, 25 I. & N. Dec. 312 (B.I.A. 2010). The new opinion vindicates important arguments that Gray Plant Mooty attorneys Dean Eyler and Craig Brandt presented to the BIA last year in this amicus brief on behalf of ILCM, the National Immigrant Justice Center, and other immigrant rights organizations. Our amicus brief asked the BIA to reconsider and clarify its controversial 2009 precedent Matter of Almanza, 24 I&N Dec. (BIA 2009). In Almanza the BIA abandoned without explanation decades of its own precedents consistently holding that immigrants with only a single "petty offense" misdemeanor on their record may still qualify to apply for humanitarian relief from deportation if they can prove their removal would cause extreme hardship to U.S. citizen or legal resident family members. Pedroza clarifies that many immigrants with a single misdemeanor conviction—including those convicted of a single misdemeanor in Minnesota—do indeed remain eligible for humanitarian relief. While this is a victory for immigrants in Minnesota, the BIA's decision does not benefit immigrants convicted of a petty crime in most other states. ILCM plans to continue litigation to restore equal access to humanitarian relief for immigrants nationwide.Read more...