Having your ear to the ground is essential for success in Immigration Court. You can have all of the book knowledge in the world but it does not have any practical utility unless you are in Immigration Court every day and know how to apply the academic knowledge in the real world context. Below is an example of a smart lawyer imparting his trade on a daily basis in Immigration Court. Our Associate Stephen A. Roth recounts how he became aware of a policy change while in Court that has not yet been available publicly but significantly impacts how we proceed strategically on a case. Stephen shares the following:
I appeared today on this spicy defensive cancellation of removal case and after arguing with the Immigration Judge, IJ, for a while, he ruled that venue should lie where the client is living and changed venue to the Charlotte Immigration Court. We were retained by Juan after he was arrested for Driving Without a License in 2011. From the beginning, we knew this was going to be a spicy case as he lacked any evidence that he was here before April 18, 2001, as the Notice to Appear, NTA was dated April 18, 2011. The most we could get was a picture that was time-stamped from June 11, 2001. In addition, Juan has two kids, ages 7 and 5, who are completely healthy, are doing ok in school, speak Spanish, and have never visited Ecuador. Juan also has 3 arrests for driving without a license and around 8 more tickets for the same issue. Finally, about a year ago, Juan moved to South Carolina, without telling us.
At the hearing today, the Trial Attorney, TA, advised me something rather interesting which will have an impact on a lot of our cases. As of November 20, 2014, the Morton memo no longer exists. The new “Johnson Memo” which outlines the new enforcement priorities and authorizes DHS to extend PD, will not be authoritative until January 5, 2015. Meaning: *****DHS HAS NO AUTHORITY TO GRANT PD UNTIL JANUARY 5, 2015.***** On the one hand, it could be good because now we can use the new Johnson Memo to help more clients as the memo appears to be more inclusive but, according to the TA , any PD requests based on the Morton Memo are now moot due to the fact that the Morton Memo has been rescinded. The best case scenario is for us to ask for more time to submit a new request based on the new memo but some IJ’s may not be willing to do that.
Attorney Stephen immediately advised the Attorneys and staff of the new policy via a Firm-wide email that was quoted above. This meant that any Attorneys waiting for his or her case to be called that morning was up to date, to the minute, regarding the ICE policy on prosecutorial discretion. This gave our clients that morning comfort in knowing that even before their cases were called, the lawyers of Youman, Madeo & Fasano were being updated on the latest policy changes. I benefited from Attorney Stephen’s update when my case was called minutes later by advising the IJ of the new policy before the TA noted her appearance. This gave everyone in the Courtroom an appreciation for attorneys who not only have the legal knowledge but the practical knowledge only earned by being in the courtroom on a daily basis.