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Blandon Law Immigration

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Reform Needed in Detention of Asylees

      A new report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom finds that the government is detaining asylum seekers under inappropriate conditions.  The full report and other information can be found by clicking here.   Importantly, the detention is contrary to the reforms announced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
     Blandon Law currently has a client detained in Georgia who is an internationally-recognized human rights defender.  Although the Service has determined that she has a credible fear if returned to her homeland, the government has not released her.  This report is just the type of information Blandon Law will use to obtain her release.

Monday, April 15, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Asylum Clock Lawsuit Settled

     The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security have agreed to settle a nationwide class action lawsuit.  It was filed to challenge the government's denial of work authorization to asylum seekers who have been waiting six months or more for a decision on their asylum applications.
     If approved by a federal judge, this agreement will help ensure that asylum seekers, who have fled persecution in their home countries, are not unlawfully prevented from working and supporting their families while the government decides their cases.
     To read the full press release, click here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Were You Denied Asylum Because of the One-Year Deadline?

     Foreign nationals who wish to seek asylum in the United States generally must file their applications within one year after arrival.  If they do not, the Citizenship and Immigration Service may refer the case to an Immigration Court Judge to see if an exception to that deadline applies.
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     As part of the comprehensive immigration reform efforts this year, the advocacy group Human Rights First is trying to change that law.  If you were denied asylum due to the deadline -- and your case was exceptionally strong otherwise -- please contact the group.  More information about them is available by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sue to Get the Notes of the Asylum Interview

paper, school, white, background, learn      The notes taken by the Asylum Officer are extremely important, but rarely made public to the foreign national.  If the asylum case is denied with the Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS), the government attorneys rely heavily on those notes to prove their case.  For example, if the Asylum Officer wrote that the foreign national does not remember specific dates about events in 2009, the government attorney will probably ask about those events during the Immigration Court hearing.
     It is important for foreign nationals, and their attorneys, to see those Asylum Officer notes because they are so important to the outcome of the court hearing -- and the success of the asylum case.  CIS, when it turns over the foreign nationals' files (in response to a Freedom of Information Act request), however, rarely provides those notes.    
    So, let's sue them.  Foreign nationals can sue the government on an individual basis if they are denied this important information.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Best Way to Win Even if Conditions in Country Have Improved

     Usually, asylum applicants find themselves without the chance for an approval if the conditions in their countries improve.  For example, those harmed by the Shining Path guerrillas in Peru might have a very difficult time obtaining asylum because that terrorist group is no longer as pervasive as it once was.
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     Fortunately, if foreign nationals suffered harm in the past, there are TWO ways that they still may be eligible for protection in the United States.  This was highlighted by a recent unpublished Board of Immigration Appeals case about a Romanian citizen.  The first way is if the foreign national demonstrates "compelling reasons" for being unwilling to return to the home country.  This is due to the severity of the past harm suffered; the foreign national may have depression, anxiety and emotional suffering about returning. 
     The other way to obtain asylum, even if the situation in the homeland has improved, is if there is a reasonable possibility that the foreign national will suffer "other serious harm" if returned.  Note, there does not have to be a likelihood of harm, just a reasonable possibility.  Also importantly, the harm does not have to be based on a protected ground.  Reports that the general population suffers from poverty or civil strife would be sufficient.
    For the best shot at a life in the U.S., talk to an immigration attorney about your personal circumstances.

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