Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Major Win in Washington State - Mexican National Granted Withholding Relief

Our office had a major win last week. In an individual merits hearing in Washington State, our client, a Mexican National, was granted withholding relief by the Immigration Judge and the DHS Assistant Chief Counsel waived the appeal for the government. Our client, after spending almost 15 months in custody was released the next day.

A little background on the case, our client was an elected major of a small town in Mexico. He was trained as a lawyer and he won the election on a promise to clean up the town. Once in office, he had several thugs arrested when they disrupted a celebration and festival in the town. They were immediately released and came back to kidnap our client, held him for several days, and took him into the desert where they released him and threatened him with death if they ever saw him again.

He first was stopped at the border, where he was deported back to Mexico by the US Border Patrol. He entered the US on his second try and was later arrested in California during a traffic stop and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Because our client was previously ordered deported, he was not eligible for asylum protection and he was held under mandatory detention by immigration officials.

The immigration case had a previous individual hearing, which was conducted by local attorney in Washington State and our client was ordered deported. In the decision, the IJ did not find the requisite nexus between the persecution and one of the protected enumerated grounds, e.g., race, religion, nationality, political opinion, of membership in a particular social group.

I handled the case on appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals and won a remand where the Board ruled in our favor, holding that the IJ erred in this nexus determination.

The deportation case was again set for another Individual Merits Hearing, which was held last week. Mr. Ballout flew up to Washington State and conducted the hearing, which ended successfully. Not many Mexican Nationals obtain asylum, withholding relief in this country and this was one huge victory.

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