Law Offices of George Giosmas

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Limits on judges' power to end deportation

An immigration court judge may be unable to stop deportation for some immigrants in Florida. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ruled that immigration judges do not have this power and that this can only happen if it is authorized by regulations or if the Department of Homeland Security has been unsuccessful in proving its deportation case.

Sessions argued that the DHS was given exclusive authority by the Immigration and Naturalization Act to put people in the removal process and that the Attorney General is in charge of supervising proceedings. Circumstances in which an immigration judge could stop proceedings would include a request from DHS, an improperly issued Notice to Appear or a change in circumstances so that it is no longer in the government's best interest to deport the person. There may also be exceptions related to eligibility for citizenship and humanitarian grounds.

A February ruling by the Supreme Court found that there is no obligation to allow bond hearings for asylum seekers. Sessions told federal judges to put a stop to using administrative closure to delay removal cases. He also raised the standard for determining credible fear and found that there is no right to a full hearing for asylum seekers who have been found ineligible.

While there have been a number of changes in immigration law and procedure and regulations around asylum seekers and deportation may have tightened, people who are in removal proceedings should not assume that nothing can be done. An attorney may explain some of the complexities of the law, what rights immigrants have and what might be possible given the specifics of the immigrant's situation.

Source: Numbers USA, "Attorney General Restricts Judges' Discretion to Terminate Deportation Cases," 9/21/2018

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