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Latino Daily News

Wednesday August 3, 2011

Noncitizens Right to Pursue Legal Action on Immigration Issues from Abroad Upheld by Courts

Noncitizens Right to Pursue Legal Action on Immigration Issues from Abroad Upheld by Courts

Photo: Immigrants Maintain Rights to Sue From Abroad

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit joined the growing list of courts to reject the government’s attempt to bar noncitizens from seeking reopening or reconsideration of their cases from outside the United States.

The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, which filed a joint amicus brief in the case and argued before the court, applaud the court’s ruling. “The court’s decision is yet another step in protecting the important safeguards that Congress put in place to help ensure that noncitizens are not unlawfully separated from their families,” said Beth Werlin of the Legal Action Center.

The Legal Action Center and the National Immigration Project have coordinated litigation on this issue nationwide and call on the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to abandon its regulation barring review of motions filed by noncitizens outside the United States.  To date, six courts of appeals have rejected the departure bar.  And just this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, the only court with a decision at odds with the majority, granted rehearing en banc to address the validity of the departure bar. 

Federal law gives noncitizens the right to file motions to submit new evidence or arguments after their removal orders become final. But the BIA has long maintained that it cannot consider such motions if a foreign national is outside the United States.

Today, the Third Circuit recognized that the government’s position was at odds with Congress’ clear intent and would undermine its policy objectives.