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BIA Finds Asylee Status Ends After Adjustment

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 By Susan Schreiber


What if your asylee client became deportable for conviction of a crime after adjusting status?  Can you client re-adjust under INA § 209(b), along with seeking a waiver under § 209(c)?   In Matter of C-J-H, 26 I&N Dec. 284, the Board said “no” because asylees who adjust status to lawful permanent residence no longer qualify as asylees.

In reaching this decision, the Board acknowledged that INA § 209(a) contains language that explicitly bars refugees from readjusting their status, but makes no reference to asylees.  Nevertheless, the Board determined that 209(b), by it's plain terms, applies only to asylees seeking to adjust to LPR status, and that once an asylee completes this process, she or he no longer has the status of asylee. The Board also rejected the argument that readjustment under 209(b) should be permitted because readjustment under INA § 245(a) is available to certain deportable LPRs.  In the Board's view, 209(b) adjustment is distinguishable because it has "different language and narrower purposes" than 245(a) adjustment.