Attorney General limits immigration appeals

In an opinion released late on Jan. 7, Attorney General Michael Mukasey wrote that “neither the Constitution nor any statutory or regulatory provision entitles an alien to a do-over if his initial removal proceeding is prejudiced by the mistakes of a privately retained lawyer.” The ruling came in the case of three people ordered deported who said their cases had been hurt by attorney errors. Mukasey’s ruling is binding over the immigration courts, which are part of the Department of Justice rather than the judiciary. Immigrant advocates said they expected the ruling to be challenged in federal appeals courts. Until recently the Board of Immigration Appeals, the highest review panel within the immigration system, had generally found that immigrants whose lawyers had made critical errors could seek to reopen their cases on constitutional grounds. (New York Times, Jan. 8)

The Attorney General’s decision, Matter of Compean, 24 I & N Dec. 710 (A.G. 2009), is available at: The American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF) has a summary of the case on its website at (AILF, press release, Jan. 8)

From Immigration News Briefs, Jan. 17

See our last post on the politics of immigration.

    1. An old fallacy
      Back in the early 1900s many people said immigrants were causing unemployment by “taking our jobs.” In 1924 Congress passed legislation that basically restricted immigration to people from northern Europe. By 1929, when the law took full effect, immigration had slowed to a trickle. And then…

      The fact is that there’s no simple, direct correlation between immigration and unemployment rates. If you deported 4 million immigrants, you wouldn’t provide 4 million jobs to the native born; you’d probably reduce the number of available jobs. Those 4 million immigrant workers and their families are consumers whose purchases create employment. In fact, immigrant workers spend most of their income on things like food, clothing and shelter whose production is labor-intensive. As a result, they generally produce more jobs than richer people, who tend to spend their money on luxury items and speculative investments that only provide employment for a few stockbrokers and Ponzi schemers.

      You get fallacious thinking of the “they take our jobs” type because our media and our schools promote mystification about how the economy works. If people knew a little about economics and used their common sense, they never would have accepted the neoliberal economic policies of the past thirty years. Working people would have laughed off the pundits and politicians babbling about “supply side economics,” the “trickle-down effect,” the “self-regulating market” and the supposed benefits of outsourcing–and we wouldn’t be where we are today.

      David L. Wilson
      Co-author, The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers