By ATTY. CRISPIN CADAY LOZANO
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is exerting unprecedented control over immigration courts — by ruling on cases himself.
The attorney general is poised to issue decisions that could determine the fate of tens of thousands of immigrants. He is trying to limit many asylum seekers from qualifying, lessen administrative closure and limit continuances of cases while waiting for the relief to be available.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has referred several cases in the immigration court system (part of the Department of Justice) to himself for review. His rulings could affect how immigration judges deal with everything from immigrants who are applying for legal status to victims of domestic and gang violence seeking asylum.
The fate of tens of thousands of immigrants’ court cases could rest in the hands of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
That’s not a metaphor. Sessions has stepped into the immigration system in an unprecedented manner: giving himself and his office the ability to review, and rewrite, cases that could set precedents for a large share of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants with pending immigration court cases, not to mention all those who are arrested and put into the deportation process in future.
He’s doing this by taking cases from the Board of Immigration Appeals — the Justice Department agency that serves as a quasi-appellate body for immigration court cases — and referring them to himself to issue a decision instead.
Sessions isn’t giving lawyers much information about what he’s planning. But he’s set himself up, if he wants, to make it radically harder for immigration judges to push cases off their docket to be resolved elsewhere or paused indefinitely — and to close the best opportunity that tens of thousands of asylum seekers, including most Central Americans, have to stay in the United States.
Most immigrants who are apprehended in the US without papers have a right to a hearing in immigration court to determine whether they can be deported and whether they qualify for some form of legal status or other relief from deportation. The same process exists for people who are caught crossing into the US but who claim to be eligible for some sort of relief, like asylum, and pass an initial screening. In both cases, only after the judge issues a final order of removal can the immigrant be deported.
Immigration courts aren’t part of the judicial branch; they’re under the authority of the Department of Justice. Their judges are supposed to have some degree of independence, and some judges are certainly harsher on immigrants and asylum seekers than others. But their decisions are guided by precedent from the Board of Immigration Appeals, which is basically the appellate court of the immigration system and which also answers to the DOJ and the attorney general.
If the attorney general doesn’t like that precedent, he has the power to change it — by referring a case to himself after the Board of Immigration Appeals has reviewed it, issuing a new ruling, and telling the immigration courts to abide by the precedent that ruling sets in future.
Note: This is not a legal advice.
1. On April 18, 2018, we received a grant of waiver from Immigration Court for a husband and wife client who made a misrepresentation of their marital status but has no criminal records, has long residence and strong family ties in the U.S.
2. On April 12, 2018, the Immigration Judge in San Francisco approved a waiver of misrepresentation in applying for a visa for our client who has been in the U.S. for 26 years, no criminal record and strong family ties in the U.S.
3. On April 3, 2018, we received an approval from USCIS for a U visa for a client who was a victim of crime.
4. For the month ending March 31, 2018, we received approvals for four naturalization applications.
5. For the week ending March 31, 2018, we received approvals of six Adjustment of Status, two Application to Remove Condition on Residence and two Renewal of Green Card approvals.
6. On March 9, 2018, we received an approval from USCIS for adjustment of status for a client who was abused by her spouse. The I-601 waiver was approved based on extreme hardship.
7. On February 15, 2018, we received a grant from Immigration Judge for a waiver of misrepresentation for a client who has been in the U.S. for long period of time.
8. For the week ending February 9, 2018, we received approvals of one I-485, one N-400, one I-90 and one I-751.
9. On January 12, 2018, we received an approval of immigrant visa at the U.S. Consulate Manila for an alien who applied for I-601-A as one who entered as a seaman.
10. On January 10, 2018, we received an approval form USCIS of a self petition for abused spouse based on same sex marriage.
11. On January 3, 2018, we received an approval from the Immigration Court for a waiver of misrepresentation for a client who was charged with misrepresentation in marriage;
12. On December 15, 2017, we received an approval from USCIS for an adjustment of status for same sex marriage for an applicant who entered without inspection but has Sec. 245 (i).
13. On November 16, 2017, we received an approval from Immigration Court for a waiver of misrepresentation for entering as single daughter of U.S. citizen but actually married.
If you have immigration problems the Law Offices of Crispin C. Lozano can help you find a solution before your problem gets worse which could lead to deportation and family separation.
Crispin Caday Lozano, Esq. is an active member of the State Bar of California, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association. He specializes in immigration law and personal injury. For free consultation email or call (firstname.lastname@example.org / 1-877-456-9266)