Motion to Reopen Granted based on Ineffective Representation of an Accredited RepresentativePublished: Aug 23, 2011 3:00 pm
Our client is a native and citizen of Turkey. She entered the United States in 2002 as a visitor and overstayed. Immigration Court proceedings were instituted against her in 2004.
She retained an unscrupulous cleric who had been accredited to represent non-citizens in the Immigration Court by the Board of Immigration Appeals. Although she advised the cleric of her fear of persecution should she be deported to Turkey, he failed and neglected to request either asylum or withholding on her behalf. As a result, the Immigration Judge ordered that she be removed from the United States in 2006. She then retained the cleric to file a Notice of Appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals, and made substantial donations to his church. The cleric did not timely file the Notice of Appeal, and in 2007 the Board of Immigration Appeals issued a decision finding that the Immigration Judge’s decision was final.
Thereafter, her son made numerous inquiries of the cleric concerning information about the progress of her appeal. He was never told that the appeal was not accepted by the Board of Immigration Appeals. In 2010, our client was arrested and incarcerated by the Department of Homeland Security, pending permission from Turkey to remove her. At this point, we were retained.
We immediately prepared an application for asylum and a Motion to Reopen which was filed with the Board of Immigration Appeals. We showed that the client had been subjected to ineffective assistance by the accredited representative, and that the client acted with due diligence, notwithstanding the fact that over three years had elapsed since the Board of Immigration Appeals’ Order, because of the numerous inquiries made concerning the appeal and the false responses that had been received.
The Board of Immigration Appeals granted the Motion to Reopen, and restored the appeal to its calendar, which will allow her to request a remand to the Immigration Court so that she may pursue her claim to asylum and/or withholding of removal. The cleric’s accreditation has now been revoked by the Board of Immigration Appeals.