The Office of Foreign Assets Control, OFAC, can wreak havoc on an individual who seeks political asylum in the United States. Once an individual is listed or designated on the OFAC list, they may be barred from asylum on the basis that there is reason to believe that the individual has committed a serious non-political offense pursuant to INA §208(b)(2)((A)(iii). There is an emerging new area of political asylum law that is developing as a result of the out of control drug cartel and gang violence that is currently plaguing Mexico. What becomes of family members of narco-traffickers who become cooperators after they have been extradited to the United States for prosecution? The OFAC list has long tentacles that often snares family members of narco-traffickers to assure that the assets of such illegal activity are paralyzed.
There is a misconception that once a Circuit Court grants a petition for review, PFR, the agency will follow suit and grant the application that was the subject of the PFR. After years of litigating cases in Circuit Courts around the country, nothing can be farther from reality. Often times, the result is a second bite at the apple. Indeed, even if the Circuit Court issues a precedential decision the agency is not required to follow the Circuit ruling if the agency can justify "statutory terms" that leave room for agency discretion. See National Cable & Telecommunications Ass'n v. Brand X Internet Serv., 545 U.S. 967 (2005).
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