Tag: asylum

Court Stops Deportation of a Potential Victim of Honor Killing

A decision was made recently in the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals case, Kamar v. Sessions.

Kamar, a Catholic woman born in Lebanon, grew up in Jordan and follows Islamic cultural practices and traditions.  Both, Kamar’s mother and sister, are United States citizens.

In June 1999, Kamar came to the United States as a B-2 visitor.  She became an F-1 student in 2001 when she began school for a master’s degree.  Kamar left school when she got pregnant, thus losing her F-1 status.  She and her ex-husband have three sons together.  In 2007, Kamar and her second husband had a baby together who is a United States citizen.

Kamar and her second husband are estranged and she has an order of protection against him.  Because Kamar no longer has F-1 student status, DHS has been trying to deport her since 2007.

She applied for withholding of deportation, claiming that “if she returned to Jordan, under Islamic tradition, she would be subject to an honor killing…[for] getting pregnant out of wedlock.”

Kamar testified that she has received letters from relatives telling her that her cousins intend to kill her.  Her mother wrote to her that one of her cousins said, “That he wish God took his life if he did not finish this work.  Even if this was the last thing that he would do on this earth, he will kill you for your sisters.”

The court also noted that the protection available for victims of honor killings in Jordan can be emotionally painful and cause suffering to the victim.

The court ruled in Kamar’s favor and granted her petition.  She will be able to remain in the United States.

For more information, click here.

 

 

Immigrant Father Separated From His Infant Son

Thirty-year-old, Jose Demar Fuentes, seeking asylum from Central America, has accused immigration officials of threatening and lying to him to separate him from his one-year-old son.

Fuentes came to the United States through Tijuana, Mexico undocumented with three other fathers and requested asylum from immigration authorities.

According to Fuentes, in three different meetings officials told him and the other fathers that their immigration cases would be problem-ridden and take longer if they did not agree to separate themselves from their children.

The fathers all agreed and the agents removed them from the holding cell and separated them from their children.  The fathers received the number for the Office of Refugee Resettlement to check on their children, but Fuentes has no idea where the agents took Mateo, his son.

Customs and Border Protection’s policy regarding keeping families together says, “CBP will maintain family unity to the greatest extent operationally feasible, absent a legal requirement or an articulable safety or security concern that requires separation.”

Two of the other fathers were identified as Carlos Batres Aguilar and Eric Matute Castro.  The whereabouts of Aguilar’s twelve-year-old son and Castro’s three-year-old son are unknown.

A senior policy adviser for migrant rights and justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission points out that White House chief of staff, John Kelly, “considered a policy of separating families in the vein of trying to deter individuals from making the journey.”  “We’ve been really concerned,” she continues, “that immigration officials are separating family members who are seeking protection in the United States.”

Fuentes’s partner, Olivia Caceres, remains in Mexico with their other son.  The couple and their children fled El Salvador with only thirty-five dollars and could not afford to continue to the United States together.  Fuentes and Mateo went ahead in the hopes that Fuentes could get more money to bring Caceres and their other son later.

Caceres is frantic, saying, “I just don’t understand why they would take him away from his father…I’m worried he’s not sleeping because he’ll only fall asleep if we sing him a song.  I’m so scared.”

For more information, click here.

Department of Homeland Security Looks to Make Significant Changes to Immigration Policies

The Department of Homeland Security has been looking to make subtle changes to immigration policies, without Congress, that could significantly affect Obama-era policies, including limiting the protections for undocumented unaccompanied minors, increasing speedy deportation proceedings, and limiting legal immigration into the US.

Unaccompanied children, UACs, are undocumented immigrants who enter the US under the age of 18 unaccompanied or are not met by a parent or legal guardian upon entrance.  Unaccompanied children are given protections from expedited removal proceedings and are able to pursue asylum cases in the US.  A memo obtained by CNN, depicted a legal opinion written that would allow the administration to decide if unaccompanied children are no longer eligible for protections.

The administration is also considering limiting policies that allow STEM students to stay in the US an additional two years for training and work authorizations for spouses of high-skilled visa holders.  The Department of Homeland Security is also trying to heighten the threshold for asylum claim credibility.

The fear of many immigration advocates and attorneys is that slowing down the visa process would be enough to decrease the number of immigrants admitted to the US each year, even without any changes in policy.

Statistics show that there have not been an increase in the rate of immigration application denials, but the backlog of pending applications has increased steadily in the last two years.

The policies the Department of Homeland Security is looking into have not been finalized and are in different developmental stages.  Some of the changes may never happen, but the possibility alone is enough to be wary.  Plus, some of the changes are included in President Trump’s immigration priorities list sent to Congress.  Some wonder if movement on these policies will be tabled until after Congress’s discussions on DACA.

For more information, click here.

Why Is My Asylum Case Taking So Long?

Why is my asylum case taking so long?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States at our office in St. Louis, Missouri. We’ve been getting a lot of calls lately from people who have filed for asylum in the United States or seeking refuge here in the U.S. and they’re wondering, “Why in the heck is my case taking so long?” They’re a lot of factors to this question and it definitely is worth shooting a video to discuss.

As we shoot this video here in 2017, it’s important to keep in mind that the number of asylum applications has skyrocketed over the last few years. We had the so-called mother and children surge across the southern borders back in ’15 and ’16 where a number of women and children were fleeing violence in places like Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and they had made their way through Mexico to the United States, and that has required a lot of work by asylum officers, and that has stretched an office that is already stretched to the breaking point even further.

The fact is that we do not have enough resources dedicated to adjudicating asylum applications in a timely manner. What does that mean in plain English? It means that the government doesn’t have enough money to process these cases properly and in an efficient manner. Another reason the cases are taking so long is because for many applicants, it’s simply impossible for the government to do what they consider to be proper background checks, and they’re really falling behind in processing these cases.

Asylum applicants from predominantly Muslim countries are seeing their cases take three, four or five years to be adjudicated, and one of the main reasons is is that places like Syria and Iraq, they are not good records that are still available and that prevents the asylum officers from doing their job and determining whether or not the person seeking asylum in the United States is a security risk or not.

Instead of deciding the cases, they’re simply sitting on the cases. We have seen these cases drag on and on. The people are having to apply for work authorizations over and over, and there’s really not any sense of urgency on the part of the asylum offices to get these cases adjudicated. Really in our office the only ones that we’ve seen get adjudicated are cases where the applicants are very old or it’s a female applicant, but basically men from Muslim countries who are seeking asylum are seeing their cases take a very, very long time to adjudicate.

What are the things that we can do to try to move those things along? Really there’s not that much to do. You can send letters. You can contact the asylum office. If you haven’t had your interview, you can ask for an expedited interview or to take a slot from someone whose asylum interview gets postponed because the applicant can’t attend. You can get on the short list and try to attend the interview on short notice.

This carries with it its own risk because you have to be ready to go on basically a moment’s notice, to go and plead your case as to why you think you need asylum in the United States. Short of that, really the only other thing that works is filing a lawsuit against the immigration service, against the asylum office, but because of the great discretion that asylum officers have in deciding these cases, we’ve been very reluctant to file lawsuits on these cases. I think federal judges are going to give the asylum office a lot more leeway then they might in other cases now.

Delays of three, four or five years might be on their very face unreasonable and that might allow a lawsuit to proceed. We’ve had some success with asylum lawsuits. We have another one pending now. We’ve had another one where a guy was waiting for four years. We filed suit, and we got him his asylum approved after two long interviews. For the most part, when you’re applying for asylum, you’re basically asking for a very generous gift from the United States government and they frankly have a lot of leeway in who they give it to. We can complain all we want about these case taking too long, but really there’s not that much leverage short of a lawsuit that lawyers or asylum applicants have.

If you have any questions about why your asylum case is taking too long, or if you’re thinking about applying for asylum and you have questions, be sure to give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com.

If you liked this video, be sure to click on the like button below. Share it with your friends and family so they can find out about asylum as well, and make sure to subscribe to all of our channel on YouTube and Facebook. Join our Facebook group Immigrant Home so that you get updated as soon as we update all of our social media. Thanks a lot and have a great day.

 

 

Can a writ of mandamus help in delayed asylum cases

 

Can a writ of mandamus lawsuit work for people who have delayed asylum cases? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of office here in St. Louis, Missouri. You know one of our favorite things to do here at the Hacking Law Practice is to file lawsuits on behalf of immigrants who’ve been waiting too long for immigration benefits. Typically, we do that in the citizenship context, so probably over a hundred people have benefited from working with us to file lawsuits on their behalf against the USCIS. The way it works is you file a lawsuit, you ask a federal judge who doesn’t work for the immigration service, who’s appointed for life and who is not part of the executive branch, to compel the immigration service to decide a case.

We’ve had people who’ve been waiting for their citizenship for one, two, three, four, five, even nine years benefit from us filing a lawsuit. When you file a lawsuit, it generally requires the USCIS to take the case off the shelf. For some reason, they’ve taken people’s cases and put them up on the shelf, and the lawsuit makes them explain the source of the delay. When delays have gone on for a really, really long time, the agency usually does not want to fight. They just want to move the case forward. We oftentimes get positive movement on the cases, oftentimes scheduling an interview or scheduling an oath ceremony.
We’ve always known that it works in the citizenship context. We’ve also had success, which you can learn about on other videos, when it comes to green card delays. We even had success suing the State Department for delays in processing immigrant visas for the spouses of US citizens. The one thing we’ve never done before is file a mandamus action for someone who had been waiting for asylum. One of the reasons we were reluctant to do that is we weren’t entirely sure, given the fact that the immigration service and the asylum office has so much discretion in granting or denying asylum, we were reluctant to file a lawsuit on the asylum front. We weren’t sure if it was going to work.

About six months ago, we were hired by a very nice couple from Syria who happen to live in Michigan. They had filed for asylum in December of 2012. They had their interview just a few months later, which is unusual, but it does happen. Sometimes, randomly, certain asylum cases get assigned very quickly to an interview. Their interview happened literally six weeks after they filed. The interview was in January of 2013, and at the time that they hired us in October of 2016, they had been waiting for three and a half years for their decision. They had done everything they could do to try to get help. They had contacted the CIA ombudsman. They had contacted their senators and representatives in Michigan, and they had made numerous InfoPass appointments, and they just couldn’t get any movement.

One thing to keep in mind is this couple had hired the largest immigration law firm in the country. If I told you their name, you’d have heard of them. They have offices around the country and around the world. I think generally they specialize more in business immigration, and while they did take this asylum case, when I reviewed the paperwork that had been filed, I didn’t think they had done a very job. Specifically, what I complained about was the fact that the statement that was submitted in support of the asylum application was all over the map. It wasn’t very focused. It left a lot of things wide open and a lot of issues for inquiry by the asylum officer.

I talked to my client about how the initial interview had gone. He said that it had gone very well, that the officer had talked to them for about an hour, which is also unusual, and that the asylum case, he was told by the officer, would be approved in a couple of months. None of that made real sense. Nonetheless, we decided to file a lawsuit. We filed suit in Chicago, because that’s where our client’s asylum case was pending. We filed it in federal court. We served copies on the defendants, and pretty quickly, he got rescheduled for another interview. That was last January. I attended the interview with my clients. It was a long day. My client had a lot to say, and they had a lot of ground to cover. They were revisiting and reissuing focus on the case and the questions that had been answered back in 2013, and they wanted to make sure that my client had not supported any kind of groups that the United States was worried about in Syria.
When the interview was over, we thought that we had done a good job and that we would be getting a decision shortly.

It turns out that we had to wait a little bit longer. Now, the defendants had a certain amount of time to answer the lawsuit. Typically, it’s 60 days, but because they were working with us, we had given them some extensions and were coming up against a new deadline. I got a call from the US attorney who was defending the lawsuit to tell me that, lo and behold, the immigration service, the asylum office, wanted to interview our client one more time. Now, I took this as a good sign, because I figured if they wanted to deny the case, they wouldn’t call us back in for another interview, but that’s in fact what they did. This week, we went up to Chicago and had a third interview on the asylum case. It was relatively quick, but it was about an hour long.

One thing the attorney had told me when he called was that he was willing to promise that we would leave the asylum office that day with a decision. It was a very stressful day for my client and for me. We went through that hour-long third interview, and then they asked us to wait so they could talk to the supervisor. They had a few more questions after that, and then we had to wait a few hours while they issued their decision. We spent that time pacing back and forth in the asylum office. It was back like when I had trial work, and I was waiting on a jury. I really wasn’t sure which way it was going to go. The officer didn’t want to come out and see us herself. She had the lady at the front window give us the decision, so we’re sitting there waiting for the decision. It was very suspenseful. I was very worried.

The decision was sitting across from us. I couldn’t tell what it said. I was pretty sure that it was going to be a denial, but the agent happily told us that our client had been approved. His long four-and-a-half year wait for asylum had been granted, that he’d been granted a parole into the United States, and that he was going to be treated as an asylee, that a year from now, he can apply for a green card, and then five years after that, he can apply for citizenship. This happened on a day that there was a horrible gas attack in Syria, so it only led more importance and significance to the victory. We were very, very excited for our client and his wife and his two lovely US citizen daughters. They’re not going to have to go back to Syria or to leave the United States. It was quite a victory, and we’re really happy for our clients.

Lesson learned. If an asylum case has been pending for a really, really long time … It’s not going to work in every case, and I would say a delay of two or three or four years is sort of the minimum before we file a lawsuit, but to know that the immigration service, the asylum office, and the US attorneys will work with us on asylum cases is a very valuable lesson.

If you have experienced delay in any kind of immigration case, whether it’s citizenship, green cards, visas, anything, make sure to give us a call at the Hacking Law Practice, 314-961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. If you like this video, be sure to click the subscribe button below. Give us a like and a shout out on social media. We’d really appreciate it. It’s a big help. If you have questions that you want us to cover, just feel free to email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com, and we’ll try to shoot a video for you. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

 

Female Afghan Pilot Seeks Asylum U.S.

The Afghan Air Force’s first female fixed-wing pilot, Capt. Niloofar Rahmani, filed a petition seeking asylum in the United States this past summer. In 2015, the State Department honored her with its annual Women of Courage award, recognizing the bravery displayed throughout her career in flying despite threats from the Taliban and “even members of her own extended family,” added first lady Michelle Obama.

Despite leaving the Afghan Air Force, Captain Rahmani still wants to be a military pilot, and for this reason she hopes to eventually join the United States Air Force. In interviews, she explained her reasons for the decision. She explained that throughout her childhood and teenage years, she was inspired by America’s goal of emancipating Afghan women, shown through the Bush administration’s pursuit of women’s rights in a country where they were scarce.

Captain Rahmani always dreamed of being a pilot and finally joined the Air Force with the support of her parents. The American government hailed her as an example of a bright spot in the effort to rebuild the Afghan Air Force, which costed the American taxpayers over $3 billion. Things went south for Captain Rahmani when photos of her in combat gear were published in the press and her relatives began receiving death threats. She began to feel unsafe at work because of the male colleagues that held her in contempt.

Furthermore, after she began training programs in the United States, the Afghan Air Force stopped paying her salary. This asylum petitions is one of Captain Rahmani’s only options and she feels nervous with it pending as President-elect Donald Trump takes office. She fears his vows to bar Muslims from entering the United States but has hope because she has always seen the country as a place where women can aspire to accomplish great things.

 

Here’s What To Do After You Get Your Asylum Interview Notice

What do I do after I receive my asylum interview notice?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. You know, a lot of the videos that I shoot, that we make, are based on current situations at our office, questions that come up either from clients or potential clients. We have a very interesting situation here in the office that just occurred. We have a fair number of asylum cases for clients from Iraq right now. Probably in our office, we’re handling about fifteen of these, and some of them have been pending for two years or more.

Last week, we got not one, not two but three asylum interview notices for the same day, and so we are working with each of our clients to prepare them for their interview and to gather the supplemental documents that we want to submit prior to the interview. It’s a very interesting time here. It’s very hectic so I’m going to shoot this video as quickly as I can. Basically, I wanted to talk to you about what we do to get ready for that final interview. The one thing that we do first and foremost is we meet with our client again. We go over the statement that we submitted, so whenever we file an I-589 asylum application, we always send in a long statement from our clients detailing why they fear persecution if they return back home.

The first thing we do is we review the statement with them and we go over it line by line with them, and we do that a couple of times to make sure that they’re comfortable, to refresh their recollection. As I mentioned, many of the time, these people had filed these two years or more ago. They probably haven’t really read up on it or paid attention to exactly what’s going on day to day in their home country so we want to prepare them for the interview because when they go to the interview, usually we don’t say that much as the attorneys involved. We really want our clients to stand on their own two feet, to be able to demonstrate and explain to the officer why they feel they need asylum and protection from persecution back home.

We spend a lot of time obviously preparing the clients for that interview. The other things we do is we start gathering supplemental evidence so again the evidence that we submitted two years ago might not be timely, and especially with countries like Iraq or where things are happening quickly and sides are changing and cities are falling, all these things are important to bring up, especially as we particularize them to our client’s case.

For instance, if we have a Sunni Muslim who doesn’t want to join ISIS, then we’re going to want to demonstrate what’s happening to Sunni Muslims who don’t join ISIS these days, so we want to make everything fresh and contemporary and updated, and we also want to go through and highlight all of that in the supplemental application memo so that the officer has an easy time going through the evidence and they understand why our client still feels they’re going to be persecuted if they return back home.

The two big things are to prepare for the interview by going over your statement, recollecting why you feel you’re going to be persecuted if you go back home, and the other one is to make sure that you’re submitting supplemental evidence, updated Human Rights Watch reports, State Department Country Conditions reports and any kind of news reports that apply to the situation in your home country. The tricky thing with asylum is that you wait and wait and wait for months and years and then when you get the notice, you basically have about two weeks to get your materials together and we like to submit them ahead of time, so they’re actually going out right now, as we speak, to the officer before they come to the interview.

If you have any questions about getting ready for your asylum interview or if you’re thinking about applying for asylum or you’re wondering whether or not you’re going to be able to show a credible fear of future persecution if you return back home, be sure to give us a call at 314-961-8200 or you can email us at jim@hackinglawpractice.com.

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Lessons Learned from Back to Back Asylum Interviews

What lessons did you learn attending 2 asylum interviews in 1 day?

Hi I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri.

I’ve had a very interesting day this week. I spent the entire day with an asylum officer and 2 of my asylum clients down at the local immigration office. In St. Louis, we don’t have an asylum office, we operate out of the asylum office in Chicago so periodically the asylum office sends officers down to St. Louis to conduct a week’s worth of interviews.

This was very interesting because while my clients have been waiting for more than 2 years for their interviews, we got about 10 days notice of the interview itself. We sort of had to scramble to get our supplemental materials in to file all that on time, and to make sure that the officer had a copy of all the evidence that we wanted to submit in support’s of our client’s claim that they would face persecution if they were forced to return back home.

We had 1 interview at 8:00 and the other one at 12:30. Our office actually had 3 interviews, but I only conducted 2 of them. We learned a lot that day. We learned a lot, we’re always trying to learn and share that information with you, and with our clients to try to help you get the most beneficial results at the asylum office and to get the information that you need so that you can put together the strongest case possible and do a good job at your interview.

What we learned. One thing we learned is that the officers are very well prepared. They’re very well advised and have knowledge of the situation on the ground. Both of my clients happened to be from Iraq on this particular case so the officer had a tremendous amount of information about Iraq and he did not need us to go into any country conditions or anything. That’s very instructive for you if you’re thinking about or preparing for your asylum interview and that is, you need to cut to the chase. You need to get started, you need to tell the officer exactly why you fear persecution if you return back home. He’s not going to want to hear just about country conditions, or she wants to hear about you. About your experience, about what your fears are, about what threats you’ve had, what incidents you’ve had that make you fear going back because the best example, the best way to show future persecution is by showing past persecution.

The officers don’t want to engage in a bunch of small talk. They dive right in. First, they go over the form, the I-589 and they go over the biographic information and then, in both interviews, the officer started off by saying “Why do fear going back to Iraq?” Then just sort of left it open.

Then he asked about prior incidents of persecution or threats or harm or harassment and they spent a lot of time talking back and forth, my client and the officer about that. This particular officer was also a very sensitive fellow, I really liked him a lot. I thought he did a tremendous job and that he was very fair with my clients.

Another thing that we know already but was re-emphasized by going through the interview is that not every question is designed to trick you, or to punish you, or to weaken your case. Sometimes the officers ask neutral questions and sometimes I think they ask questions that are designed to help the client. To help them remember things, to make sure that the officer gets all the information. This particular officer I thought was a very fair arbiter. A very fair judge. A very fair officer in assessing the evidence. He wasn’t trying to trick anybody, he wasn’t unfair I thought. I thought he was very methodical, very matter of fact, very sensitive, there were times in any asylum case where your client is expressing real fear and I think he was very sensitive to that. I think he’d been very well trained. He’d obviously handled a lot of interviews before and I thought he was very thorough.

You need to be ready. You need to be ready for your interview, you need to be able to tell your story, you need to be able to articulate it. With each of our clients, I think we prepped them each 3 times for a couple hours each time to make sure that they were ready. To make sure that they remembered everything. On the back end, at the end of the interview, I in both cases made a statement. In 1, I made sure that my client was mentioning a few of the incidents that he had neglected to mention and which the officer had not followed up on. I wanted to make sure that the officer had a thorough understanding of the facts of the case. In the other one I did make a brief closing statement and I have to tell you, I was touched by what my client said. I think the officer was touched by what my client said. It was very hard to listen to someone express such base fear of going back home. It’s going to be very dangerous for him if he has to.

We’re very hopeful that they both get asylum here in the United State. We’re feeling good about the cases. Obviously we don’t want to jinx it but we thought our clients did a really good job, that we had put together the strongest case possible, that they did a really good job of articulating their positions and I think the officer was able to assess that these are very credible fears. These are 2 men who really fear bringing their family back from the United States to Iraq and we’re hopeful that the interview went well and that eventually the clients will get approved.

The officer made a point to tell everybody before we even started that there would be no decision today, that we would be conducting the interview and it was just one piece of the puzzle, that there were other supervisors and other people that have to weigh in on the asylum claim and that the interview itself was just one small piece of that.

We hope this video enlightened you as to some of the things you need to think about as you go into the asylum interview. It’s obviously very stressful, very important. It’s almost I think, a holy or a sacred event, it’s very surreal. It’s very unusual, it’s not like any other kind of immigration interview. It’s really where someone’s basically pleading for their life to not have to go back home. I think that really come through to the officer so we’re happy about that.

If you have any questions about asylum, if you’re getting ready for your interview, if you need some help, need some pointers, make sure to give us a call at (314) 961-8200. We’d be happy to represent you, to help you file the strongest asylum application possible or to strengthen your case before you go to interview.

You can also call us at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at jim@hackinglawpractice.com

We hope you like this video. We have a lot of asylum content on the YouTube website and on our regular website so if you have questions make sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel and if you like this video, please give us a like down below.

Thanks a lot and have a great day.

Location can play a factor in whether your asylum case is approved (hint: don’t file in Atlanta)

Thus far in 2016, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has reported that federal immigration authorities have taken 336 young people and 121 family units into custody in the United States.  This high number of detainments is partly in response to the influx of immigrants from Central America that come to the United States seeking asylum.   ICE’s field office in Atlanta is responsible for two-thirds of the family units and one-third of the young people being detained.  

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) reports that in 2015, Atlanta’s immigration judges denied 98 percent of petitions for asylum.  Only 16 percent of asylum petitions were denied in New York City and roughly 52 percent were denied nationally according to the EOIR’s statistics.  

EOIR logo

A staff attorney with Catholic Charities of Atlanta, Will Miller, stated that the extremely high rate of denials has scared many attorneys away from dealing with asylum cases.  Mr. Miller is quoted as saying, “I know that when I first started, the general consensus was, ‘Don’t take asylum cases, because they’re just going to be denied, and you’re just going to be wasting your client’s money.'”

Mr. Miller stated that attorneys pursuing asylum should prepare to take their case to the Board of Immigration Appeals and, if that is unsuccessful, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.  He further commented, “You’re going to be in for the long haul.  It’s not just going to be a matter of handling the case in downtown Atlanta immigration court. There’s going to be a denial, and you’re going to have to handle the appellate part as well. It’s just a long, arduous process.”

A spokesperson for the EOIR, Kathryn Mattingly, said that her office “takes seriously any claims of unjustified and significant anomalies in immigration judge decision-making.”  

Recently, a number of immigration lawyers have teamed up to form the CARA project.  The CARA project is a pro-bono legal network that collects resources from many large nonprofit organizations and a national association of attorneys to take cases in family detention centers in Texas.  While this model is not readily available everywhere, immigration law clinics at law schools are good alternatives to tackle these complex asylum cases.  

Congressman proposes private bill to keep Irishman from being deported

Malachy

Congressman Joe Crowley of New York will introduce a private bill in support of Malachy McAllister, an Irishman who is subject to deportation from the U.S. on April 25.

At the same time, the Ancient Order of Hibernians is mobilizing members around the U.S., asking them to contact their Congressional representatives to ask for relief for McAllister.  The Irish native has lived for 20 years in the U.S. after fleeing Northern Ireland with his family after their home was shot at by Loyalist paramilitaries in 1988.

“Time is of the essence. We all need to act now,” Crowley told the Irish Voice on Tuesday.

“Malachy meets all the requirements to avoid deportation. He is absolutely no threat to the United States. He is one of the former hard men who took risks for peace in Northern Ireland, and his case needs to be seen in that context. We do not want to give reason for the dissidents to say their campaign should continue, and deporting Malachy would do that.”

McAllister is a former member of the Irish National Liberation Army.  He spent three years in prison in Belfast in the 1980s.  McAllister and his family fled Northern Ireland in 1988 after their home was attacked with gunfire. They first went to Canada and then to the U.S., where they have been fighting for asylum ever since.

Recently declassified British intelligence documents indicate collusion between the British security forces and Loyalist paramilitaries in the attack on the McAllister home, making him even more worried about deportation.

“I’m just worn down,” McAllister told the Irish Voice on Tuesday morning. “So many years we’ve had to go through this. All I want is closure. Questions have to be asked as to why this is happening now.”

His case for political asylum has been on appeal at the Board of Immigration Appeals.  McAllister has received deferred action from ICE in 12 month increments every year since 2006.  In March of 2015, Immigration & Customs Enforcement reversed their prior course of action and ordered McAllister to report for deportation.  McAllister’s prior arrest in Belfast has been flagged by ICE, though the complete context of the political unrest in Northern Ireland at the time is being ignored, his supporters say.

McAllister, a resident of Rutherford, NJ owns a successful stone mason business which has employed several U.S. citizens.  He also owns an Irish bar and restaurant in Manhattan called Wolfe Tone’s Irish Pub and Kitchen. He has had no arrests since his arrival in the U.S., and he has long disavowed paramilitary activity in the North, staunchly advocating for the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.

“Everybody here knows who I am and what I stand for, all the Irish groups and organizations. I am very grateful for their support,” says McAllister, who is father to a 4-year-old U.S.-born son and grandfather to five U.S. citizen grandchildren.

The special bill that Crowley is proposing is a legislative mechanism whereby Congress can literally pass a piece of legislation designed to solve one person’s immigration issue.  It is a rare form of immigration relief.