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: http://www.usdoj.gov/eoir/vll/intdec/vol24/3632.pdf. The American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF) has a summary of the case on its website at http://www.ailf.org/lac/chdocs/bia-SumCompean.pdf. (AILF, press release, Jan. 8)
From Immigration News Briefs, Jan. 17
See our last post on the politics of immigration.