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Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision in Matter of L‑A‑B‑R‑

AG again issues a decision to take power away from the Immigration Judges in order to try to expedite deportation and removals

BIA Says IJs Cannot Adjudicate Section 212(d)(3)(A)(ii) Waiver by Petitioner for U Status

In a precedent decision issued today, the BIA held that IJs lack the authority to adjudicate a request for a waiver of inadmissibility under INA §212(d)(3)(A)(ii) by a petitioner for U nonimmigrant status. The BIA also concluded that the Seventh Circuit’s decision in L.D.G. v. Holder did not expressly find the language of §212(d)(3)(A) to be unambiguous, which would have left no room for agency discretion. Accordingly, the BIA will apply its ruling in this decision to cases nationwide, including cases arising in the Seventh Circuit.

Court Rejects Pro Se Petitioner’s Argument That He Was Denied Representation by Counsel

The Seventh Circuit denied the petition for review, holding that the petitioner was afforded due process, because the IJ fully complied with the statutory requirement of INA §240(b)(4) by informing the petitioner of his right to obtain counsel, and offered repeatedly to continue the case to allow him to secure representation.

Immigration Judges cannot be bullies

A case just came down with the following ruling:
Matter of Y-S-L-C-, 26 I&N Dec. 688 (BIA 2015)

(1) The requirements of the Federal Rules of Evidence with respect to the admission of expert testimony are inapposite to a respondent’s testimony regarding events of which he or she has personal knowledge.

(2) Conduct by an Immigration Judge that can be perceived as bullying or hostile is never appropriate, particularly in cases involving minor respondents, and may result in remand to a different Immigration Judge.

Iranian IJ wins suit

NPR reports that DOJ has agreed to lift an order recusing Los Angeles-based Immigration Judge Ashley Tabaddor from all cases involving Iranian nationals. Last year, Judge Tabaddor sued DOJ, claiming that the order amounted to discrimination and violated her constitutional rights. DOJ also agreed to pay Judge Tabaddor $200,000, and to review its recusal policies.

Mentally incompetent in Immigration Court?

In a precedent decision issued today, the BIA found that neither the government nor the respondent bears a formal burden of proof in immigration proceedings to establish whether or not the respondent is mentally competent, but where indicia of incompetency are identified, the Immigration Judge (IJ) should determine if a preponderance of the evidence establishes that the respondent is competent. Further, the BIA held that an IJ’s finding of competency is a finding of fact that the BIA can review to determine if it is clearly erroneous.

Sometimes the US is not the land of the free

Politico reports that newly released government records show that, from mid-July 2014 through August 31, 2015, immigration judges issued nearly 2,800 removal orders for child migrants from Central America who were afforded no defense lawyer and only a single hearing. In at least 40 percent of those cases, the defendant was 16 years old or younger, and at least 392 children were 14 or younger. The article quotes AILA

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