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U.S. Attorney General Limits Asylum Seekers’ Rights to be Heard

The Washington Post reported that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has done away with a requirement that foreign nationals seeking asylum here in this country receive a full hearing in immigration court. By eliminating this requirement, it vacates a ruling made by the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2014 that all asylum seekers should be given full hearings on their petitions.

Because of the new rule, immigration judges need not sit through a full hearing and can reject any petitions upon initial review if the petitions are deemed to be fraudulent or do not meet the criteria for a full hearing.

Immigration advocates argued that the asylum seekers whose petitions are denied will be sent back to their home countries, where they faced violence and persecution. Devin O’Malley, a spokesperson for the Justice Department, said the elimination of the BIA ruling was necessary because it will eliminate the backlog of cases caused by frivolous claims that were made in an effort to slow down the deportation process.

According to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, 20 percent of all asylum seekers fill out the petitions on their own, without any legal help. The clearinghouse also found that the percentage of cases rejected by immigration judges went up from 44.5 percent in 2012 to 62 percent in 2017.

If you are concerned about your asylum application or your status as a non-citizen and are seeking advice, it is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney. The attorneys at Bretz & Coven, LLP have a long history of zealous, knowledgeable, and honest advocacy on behalf of immigrants. To schedule your consultation, contact our qualified immigration law attorneys today at (212) 267-2555 or fill out our contact form.

Immigration Consequences of Criminal and Fraudulent Conduct
The immigration consequences of criminal or fraudulent conduct can be harsh and often illogical. Even a very minor offense could have a dramatic immigration consequence, including deportation, detention without bond, being denied naturalization, a visa or re-entry into the United States. Likewise, the use of fake or fraudulent documents, aliases, and other misrepresentations can have similar immigration consequences. Kerry Bretz and Bretz & Coven have been counseling non-citizen criminal defendants, as well as their lawyers, for over 20 years. We have a long history of strategizing deportation and removal defenses, as well as applications for waivers, in very complicated cases.

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