Resources on Appeals

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Since its inception in 2019, CLINIC’s Defending Vulnerable Populations, or DVP, Program has offered high quality skills training. With the current concerns about travel and sharing office space, DVP has adjusted and moved our trial skills classes online.

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Direct examination is generally the most important part of a respondent's immigration court removal proceedings. Direct examination provides the opportunity for the respondent to tell their story to the IJ, and it is critical to the success of the case that the representative skillfully and persuasively helps guide the respondent and other witnesses through their narrative to put the strongest case before the IJ and build the best record in the event of an appeal.

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This practice advisory offers guidance and tips that will help practitioners deliver concise and compelling opening statements and closing arguments in immigration court.

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CLINIC submitted comments on March 30, 2020, urging the Justice Department to withdraw its proposed fee increases for immigration court and Board of Immigration Appeals, or BIA, filings. CLINIC opposed procedural issues concerning the rulemaking, including the Justice Department’s refusal to extend the 30-day comment deadline in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. CLINIC also argued that the dramatic increases in fees — appeals to the BIA would rise from $110 to $975 — are unreasonable and will prevent people from receiving fair results in their cases.

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In Matter of Castillo-Perez, 27 I&N Dec. 664 (A.G. 2019), the attorney general held that two or more convictions for driving under the influence during the qualifying time period presumptively bar an applicant for non-lawful permanent resident cancellation of removal from proving good moral character under section § 101(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

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The Mercer Law School Immigration Appeals Clinic filed an amicus brief on CLINIC’s behalf on March 11, 2020. The amicus brief lays out how the particular social group of “Honduran transgender women” meets the three-prong test laid out in Matter of M-E-V-G-.

Update: After submission of this, and other amicus briefs, the Department of Homeland Security stipulated to remand the case to the immigration judge.

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The Board of Immigration Appeals, issued calls for amicus briefs in two cases where the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appealed immigration judges’ decisions to terminate cases, where the Notices to Appear did not specify the admission status of the respondents.

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The notice outlines the administration’s plan to significantly increase fees associated with filings for appeals to BIA, applications for suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal, and motions to reopen or reconsider before the immigration courts or the BIA.

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On Jan. 22, 2020, the Board of Immigration Appeals issued a decision in Matter of Angel MAYEN-Vinalay, 27 I&N Dec. 755 (BIA 2020) concerning requests for continuances by applicants for “collateral relief” pending with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services who are also in removal proceedings. In this decision, the BIA held that a noncitizen’s prima facie eligibility for U nonimmigrant status, and whether that relief will materially affect the outcome of proceedings, are not dispositive, particularly where there are relevant secondary factors that weigh against a continuance.