Friday, September 27, 2013

DHS exposed for using a non-existent Mexican law to deport the supposedly "illegitimate" children of U.S. citizen fathers and Mexican women

The ABA Journal reports that the U.S. federal government has been wrongly citing a Mexican law that doesn't exist in claiming that Mexicans born to a U.S. father out of wedlock are not "legitimized" under Mexican law and thus are not U.S. citizens. See the full article.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the purported Mexican constitutional provision doesn't exist in the opinion in Iracheta v. Holder, released on September 11, 2013.

The "phantom" Mexican constitutional provision was being cited for 35 years by INS/DHS and nobody successfully challenged its application. The article states that "Most such cases are never appealed, because those affected don't have the money to retain counsel."

This is yet another example of the tragedy of those in removal proceedings not having access to affordable counsel.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Removal of 190,000 Sought in US Immigration Courts in FY 2013

According to the Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), "in fiscal year 2013 the U.S. government will file actions in Immigration Court seeking to remove over 190,000 individuals from the country, according to the latest data extending through the end of August 2013."

Nationally, Immigration Judges ordered deportations on 53.1 percent of those immigrants in removal proceedings.

On the bright side, New York state doesn't fall into the top ten states for percentage of immigrants in removal proceedings who were ultimately ordered removed.

More details can be found at

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Changing Venue in Immigration Court: Transferring Your Case To Another Immigration Court

Non-Citizen Travelers Served With a "Notice to Appear"  at the Canadian Border or in Upstate New York Face Difficulty Traveling to Buffalo for Immigration Court Hearings

Non-citizens who are in removal proceedings (deportation proceedings) often ask whether they can move their deportation cases to a different immigration court. For example, a non-citizen may have gone on vacation in Niagara Falls and was arrested by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) when they crossed the border from Canada back into the United States. They may have been served with a Notice to Appear (NTA) or even held in detention at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, NY. They could be hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their homes elsewhere in the United States.

If a non-citizen is released on bond, or served with an NTA without being arrested, they will often return to their homes but must now travel back to the Buffalo area to appear in immigration court for their Master Calendar hearing. They may find it difficult to take time off work to travel to the area, and witnesses and family members may have difficulty traveling to the area with them.

In some cases, it doesn't make sense to change venue. Where the NTA is defective or the non-citizen has a simple form of relief available, it may make sense to keep the case in the original immigration court, whether that is the Buffalo Immigration Court, Batavia Immigration Court, or elsewhere.

However, where a non-citizen decides to seek discretionary relief, such as cancellation of removal, 212(c) relief, or asylum, it often requires the testimony of family members and friends to help establish the facts. In those cases, it may be difficult or impossible for witnesses to travel to the original immigration court. In these situations, a Motion for Change of Venue may be filed with the immigration court.

A Motion for Change of Venue is granted at the discretion of the judge, and will only be granted if the judge is convinced that a transfer to a different immigration court is warranted. The motion must be filed at least 15 days before the scheduled hearing. The Immigration Judge will also demand that pleadings be made before the motion to change venue is considered. For this reason, it is critical that you consult with a knowledgeable immigration lawyer in the Buffalo area well in advance of your Master Calendar hearing date.

It can be difficult to find an immigration lawyer who is willing to competently pursue a motion to change venue, as they would, in effect, be asking the judge to transfer their case away and they would no longer make money. Presumably, once the motion is granted, the non-citizen would find a new immigration lawyer close to home to handle the case. Indeed, most of these motions I have seen filed in immigration court were filed by lawyers from the other city, asking the judge to transfer venue to the immigration court near them.

If you or a loved one have been served with a Notice to Appear ("NTA") and are facing a hearing in the Buffalo Immigration Court or Batavia Immigration Court, you should immediately contact us at (716) 418-7431 for a consultation to discuss your case and the best strategies moving forward.