Matter of L-A-B-R-


September 24, 2018

The American Immigration Council, with other immigrant rights organizations, filed an amicus brief in Matter of L-A-B-R-. In Matter of L-A-B-R-, Attorney General Jeff Sessions consolidated three cases where the Board of Immigration Appeals declined to reach the merits on whether an immigration judge properly continued removal proceedings. At issue in the case is what constitutes “good cause” to support a continuation of removal proceedings. The decision will impact many participants in removal proceedings, including those who justifiably seek to continue removal proceedings, for example, to find counsel, to await adjudication of an immigration petition or application, or to await the outcome of a challenge to the validity or finality of a criminal conviction.

The brief discusses how Sessions’ public statements indicate prejudgment about the use of continuances and explains how Sessions’ use of the referral authority suggests that he is choosing to refer cases to himself to achieve predetermined political and policymaking goals. The brief also outlines Sessions’ troubling statements that display an intense hostility toward noncitizens who do not meet his standards for income, education, professional skills, and language ability, or whose family ties might provide a basis for immigration status. Because due process principles require an impartial decisionmaker, our brief argues that Sessions’ statements and use of the referral authority render him unfit to fairly decide the referred cases and asks Sessions either to vacate the referral order or to recuse himself.

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