Yesterday, I spoke on a panel for a continuing legal education (CLE) course called “Crimmigration.” The CLE course was sponsored by the Southern District of New York and Immigration Law Section of the Federal Bar Association. It was held at the U.S. Court house located at 40 Foley Square, New York, New York. I spoke about situations where immigration lawyers and criminal lawyers should work together. One thing I spoke about was that immigration attorneys should provide advice to criminal lawyers about the potential immigration consequence of proposed plea agreement. I also discussed how immigration lawyers should work with criminal lawyers when their clients need a conviction vacated to avoid deportation. Cheryl David, Chris Flood, Isaac Wheeler, and Labe Richman were on the panel with me.
2014 was not a good year for me to blog. I was very busy last year and did not have time to blog. My New Year’s resolution is to blog more this year. Since I did not do any blogs last year, I thought I would start off this year with a blog reviewing what I did in 2014.
I had a lot of victories this past year. Among my successes were:
* I got humanitarian asylum for a client from India. When someone who demonstrates past persecution is not entitled to asylum because of changed country conditions, they can still get “humanitarian” asylum, if they can demonstrate that they will suffer “other serious harm.”
* I won an asylum case for a client from Belarus.
* A detained client was granted cancellation of removal. It was nice to see him get released and be reunited with his family.
* A client with multiple marijuana convictions was granted a waiver pursuant to INA § 212(c).
* I had three clients’ cases reopened by the Board of Immigration Appeals, so that they could seek a waiver pursuant to INA § 212(c) based upon a change in the law. One of these three clients has already won his case. In that case, the Immigration Judge said that he was not sure if he wanted to grant the case. I then did a closing argument and the Immigration Judge was persuaded by my argument to grant the case.
* I won a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit where the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision to deny my client asylum was overturned and the case was remanded for a new decision.
* A client with a conviction for criminal possession of a weapon was granted cancellation of removal. The Immigration Judge said that my case was so well prepared that we did not need to take testimony – that does not happen often.
* I had three clients get green cards through adjustment of status. In one case, the client’s husband died after the interview and I had to get my client a green card through a widow petition.
* I had two clients become citizens through naturalization.
* One of my client’s had his fiancé visa granted. It felt great when he e-mailed me a wedding picture of himself with his spouse.
* I did a motion to reopen that got a client’s in absentia order rescinded, so that his proceedings were reopened.
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I resumed being an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School in the Fall. I teach a course that I created called “Immigration Workshop: Deportation Defense.” The course was not offered during the 2013 academic year. I had a great class and enjoyed teaching this past semester. I would love to teach again this Fall.
In addition to teaching at Brooklyn Law School, I also taught continuing legal education (CLE) courses. In order for lawyers to maintain their law license, they must take CLE courses. I taught four CLE courses last year to help immigration attorneys learn about how to practice immigration law:
* In November, I took part in the Brooklyn Defenders Services’ First Annual Deportation Institute. It was a very interesting experience. I was one of seven instructors who worked in small groups to help immigration lawyers develop their court room skills.
* On August 11, 2014, I spoke at the Practicing Law Institute on cancellation of removal.
* On June 20, 2014, I spoke at American Immigration Lawyers‘ (AILA) National Conference on “Practical Issues in Removal Proceedings.” I have been invited to speak again at this year’s AILA conference.
* On January 12, 2014, I taught a CLE at Brooklyn Law School for the Practicing Law Institute called, “CRIMMIGRATION: What Criminal Lawyers Should Know about Immigration Law and What Immigration Lawyers Should Know about Dealing with Criminal Lawyers.” This was a special CLE for me. Usually, when I teach a CLE, I am given a topic with instructions about what I am supposed to talk about. For this CLE, everything about it was developed by me.
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I spent part of the year working part-time at the Immigrant Defense Project. They needed some assistance with their help hotline, so I spent a few weeks working with them part-time as the interim supervisor of their hotline and as a senior attorney assisting the new supervisor with running the help hotline. I love working with the people at Immigration Defense Project. However, going back and forth between my office and their office exhausted me. The Immigration Defense Project’s help hotline provides assistance to many people, so I felt that it was important that I help them out when they needed it.
I continued to be on the Amicus Curiae Committee of the AILA and the Advisory Board to Brooklyn Defenders.
Except for not blogging, it was a pretty good year.
Yesterday, I spoke at Pace Law School on a continuing legal education panel entitled, “Selected Immigration Topics for Criminal, Family, and Small Firm Practitioners with Immigrant Clients.” I spoke about determining the immigration consequences of a plea agreement and seeking post conviction relief to cure immigration problems. Normally, when I speak at continuing legal education courses, I am only addressing immigration lawyers. This course was really for criminal attorneys to learn about immigration law.