January 2009-Asylum News

Mukasey Decision on Matter of Compean Reverses the Well Understood Notion that Asylum Seekers Have a Right to Legal Counsel In the final days of the Bush Administration, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey issued a decision on Matter of Compean, 24 I & N Dec. 710 (A.G. 2009), holding that immigrants do not have the right to be represented by legal counsel before they can be ordered removed, overturning decades of precedent holding otherwise. Consequently, immigrants do not have the right to reopen their case or request a new hearing when their lawyer is incompetent or fraudulent. Under this decision, an immigrant can now only reopen his/her case in certain highly extreme circumstances. To read Matter of Compean, click here. To read the brief submitted by the American Immigration Law Foundation, click here. The Senate Confirms Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Department of Homeland Security On January 15, 2009 the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee held a hearing on the confirmation of President Obama’s nominee for DHS Secretary, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. On January 21st the Senate confirmed Napolitano’s nomination. The Administration is now rolling out additional nominees for key leadership positions. Click here for more on Napolitano’s confirmation hearing. For more on nominations of other DHS leadership positions, click here. The 9th Circuit Issues an Opinion Regarding the One Year Deadline for Filing an Asylum Application In the recent case of Minasyan v. Mukasey the 9th Circuit held that the year-long period for filing an asylum application begins the day after an applicant’s arrival, thus finding that Minasyan had met the one-year filing deadline by a difference of one day. Minasyan arrived in the United States on a tourist visa on April 9, 2001, and filed an asylum application on April 9, 2002. In court, the immigration judge found that Minasyan’s claims were credible and that he had met the legal standard for asylum. The judge nevertheless denied asylum on the basis that Minasyan had not filed his application within his first year in the United States. According to the judge, had he filed on April 8, a mere one day earlier, he would have been granted asylum. The 9th Circuit overturned this ruling and remanded Minasyan’s case to the immigration court for a final decision. To read the 9th Circuit opinion, click here. The Marvin Frankel Annual Award Each year, Human Rights First honors the memory of Judge Marvin E. Frankel, a founding father of Human Rights First and former Chairman of our Board of Directors, with an award in his name. On January 15 Human Rights First presented the 2008 Frankel award to Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP in an afternoon ceremony held at the firm’s New York Office. Attorneys at the firm have provided top quality pro bono legal representation to asylum seekers through the asylum representation program at Human Rights First for many years. They have demonstrated the ability to handle a number of complex asylum cases that have taken several years to resolve as well as cases for refugees who face particular challenges, such as immigration detention. Given Marvin Frankel’s history at the firm, Human Rights First is particularly pleased to honor the firm with this award. Click here to read more about the Frankel Award. EOIR Issues a New Factsheet on Asylum, Withholding and CAT protections EOIR’s new educational factsheet on Asylum, Withholding, and CAT provides basic information on the forms of relief available for individuals in the United States seeking protection from persecution. Click here to view factsheet.


Published on July 2, 2010


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