🤯👎🏽MORE CIRCUIT REJECTS FOR GARLAND & PRELOGAR — 1st & 3rd Cirs “Just Say No” To DOJ’s Ill-Advised Positions On “Theft Offense” & Derivative Citizenship!  — It’s Part Of A Larger Leadership Failure @ Garland’s Broken DOJ!

From Dan Kowalski @ LexisNexis:


CA1 on Categorical Approach: Da Graca v. Garland

Da Graca v. Garland

“Aires Daniel Benros Da Graca petitions for review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (the “Board”) affirming his order of removal and denying his requests for cancellation of removal and voluntary departure. Because we find that a conviction under Rhode Island General Laws (“RIGL”) § 31-9-1 is not categorically a theft offense, we grant the petition for review, vacate the decision below, and remand for further proceedings.”

[Hats off to Randy Olen and Robert F. Weber!]



CA3 Derivative Citizenship Victory: Jaffal v. Director



“Appellant Imad Jaffal, born in Jordan, seeks a declaration that he is entitled to derivative U.S. citizenship under former 8 U.S.C. § 1432(a). That statute provides that “a child born outside the United States automatically acquires United States citizenship if, while the child is under the age of eighteen, the parent with legal custody of the child is naturalized while that child’s parents are legally separated.” Jaffal’s father was naturalized when Jaffal was seventeen years old, and Jaffal presented evidence to the District Court that he was in the sole legal custody of his father when his father was naturalized and his parents were separated. The District Court, however, declined to accept Jaffal’s evidence of his parents’ divorce. Because we conclude that was error, we will reverse the order of the District Court and remand the matter with instructions to issue a judgment declaring Jaffal to be a national of the United States.”

[Hats way off to Alexandra Tseitlin!]


Here’s my favorite quote from Judge Torresen’s decision in  Da Garcia v. Garland:

Despite this apparent disconnect between RIGL § 31-9-1 and the Board’s definition of theft offense, the Board in Da Graca’s case determined that to prove the statute’s overbreadth, the Petitioner was required to identify actual cases in which Rhode Island had enforced the statute against de minimis deprivations of ownership interests. Da Graca contests the Board’s imposition of an actual case requirement and argues that he “need not necessarily proffer specific examples of Rhode Island prosecutions in order to establish a ‘realistic probability’ that the state would apply its statute to conduct that falls outside the generic definition of a crime.” We agree with Da Graca.

Essentially, Garland’s BIA “makes it up as it goes along” to reach a denial, then Prelogar’s DOJ attorneys defend the illegal result. Sounds like a really bad system, lacking accountability, expertise, common sense, and, sometimes, professional responsibility. 

Lest you think that the legal nonsense being produced by Garland’s BIA and the USCIS is “below Prelogar’s radar screen” in her exulted position, that’s NOT true! Every adverse decision suffered by the USG must be reported to the SG’s Office with an analysis and recommendations from the agency’s attorneys, the litigators who handled the case, the appellate section of litigating division (here the Civil Division), and the SG’s staff. No appeal, petition for rehearing en banc, or petition for cert. can be filed without the express authorization of the SG’s Office. 

So, Prelogar is well aware of the bad positions, unfairness, and poor work product DOJ attorneys are defending (sometimes with a lack of candor or misleading the courts) and their abuses of the time of the Article IIIs. 

Even with the “real” (Article III) Federal Courts moving markedly to the right (following four years of Trump-McConnell appointments and eight years of lackadaisical performance by the Obama Administration), and rules that strongly favor the Government on judicial review, DOJ’s haphazard performance under Garland and Prelogar continues to earn a stream of avoidable “kickbacks” from the Article IIIs. The DOJ system is broken in many places — EOIR is just the most obvious, most pressing, and most easily addressed area of failure.

There is a tendency of immigration advocates, perhaps still hoping to curry favor with an Administration that largely ignores and despises them, to overemphasize the largely cosmetic and low impact “positive” changes made by the Biden Administration. See, e.g., https://www.lexisnexis.com/LegalNewsRoom/immigration/b/outsidenews/posts/biden-at-the-one-year-mark-a-greater-change-in-direction-on-immigration-than-is-recognized;


At the same time they acknowledge but downplay the existential crippling effects of Garland’s failure to bring progressive reforms to EOIR, his defense of disgraceful, immoral, and inhumane “Miller Lite” positions in Federal Court, his intentional indifference to human suffering and the complete breakdown of the rule of law at our borders, and his disdain for removing the Trump enablers, deadwood, and poor lawyers from DOJ — at all levels.

I have a radically different perspective on the future of meaningful progressive immigration reforms, based on my nearly 50 years of involvement with the system on both sides and at all levels — more than most folks. 

There will be no meaningful, sustainable immigration reforms without a radically reformed, remade, Immigration Court system with a judiciary of due-process-oriented progressive experts who have the courage to “speak truth to power,” stand up for the legal, constitutional, and human right of the most vulnerable, and put integrity, humanity, and the best interests of our nation above career advancement, survival, or “ingratiation with the powers that be.” That’s NOT Garland’s DOJ — which remains largely the out of control, often ethically challenged morass that he inherited from his predecessors.

Let’s not forget that through intentional misuse of precedents, weaponization of EOIR, and White Nationalist litigation strategies, Jeff Sessions was able to largely disable the entire asylum system, including USCIS Asylum Offices, and shift USCIS Adjudications from service to “enforcement only,” in preparation for the “final eradication” of asylum and crippling of our entire legal immigration system by his crony and former subordinate, Stephen Miller. And, the folks who helped him do that and “went along to go along” with abuses are still largely on board and in key positions in Garland’s DOJ — actually operating with his apparent “stamp of approval.” Outrageous!

From a due process, human rights, progressive, good government, equal justice, racial equality standpoint, as well as from any aspect of moral leadership on fundamental values, Garland’s performance at DOJ has been unacceptable. Has Garland visited any of the camps in Mexico or gone to the “New American Gulag” to witness first-hand the human carnage for which he is responsible? Heck no! That’s a job for progressive experts whose input and advice he then shuns, ignores, and “tunes out!”

For progressive advocates to downplay the Biden Administration’s gross failures or “over-cheer” incremental progress that means little without fundamental reforms at EOIR and the DOJ only deepens the fecklessness of their own positions and furthers the disrespect and under-appreciation of their efforts, potential power, and value that has become an endemic feature of the Democratic Party. 

The Biden Administration might talk a good game, particularly around election time; but, in reality, they are governing largely in fear of and like nativist Republicans — but getting no “political return” whatsoever for betraying their supposed values and their base (see, Catherine Rampell). Advocates reward and tolerate such disgraceful and intellectually dishonest conduct at their own peril!

Meanwhile, Suzanne Clark, President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, certainly no “progressive shill,” speaks truth about the need for and our ability to accept more immigrants:

Allowing more immigrants into the US would help mitigate both soaring inflation and the current labor shortage, the CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce said.

“We need more workers,” Suzanne Clark told reporters Tuesday, per CNN. “We should welcome people who want to come here, go to school, and stay.”

“That is a place the government could be particularly helpful and we do believe it would be anti-inflationary,” she said, per CNN.


Those immigrants are right in front of us: rotting in camps at the border, being returned to danger or death with no process — both as a result of Garland’s failure to re-establish our legal asylum system at the border — or languishing in Garland’s mushrooming 1.6 million Immigration Court backlog! It doesn’t take a “rocket scientist” to see that instead of wasting time, money, and resources on mindless “enforcement” intended to deter and discourage those who might help us by helping themselves, we should have set up fair and timely processing systems, staffed by experts, that would identify the many individuals at the border and already in the U.S. who can qualify to remain under fair and properly generous interpretations of asylum law, withholding, CAT, U & T visas, “stateside processing waivers,” cancellation of removal” (for those already here), TPS, and other possibilities. 

This is just as much”law enforcement” and “maintaining the integrity of our system” as are the efforts to increase deportations, terrorize communities, or close borders to “deter” migrants (primarily those of color) that has been practiced to some degree by every Administration. It also makes sense, economically, practically, and ethically.

It starts with an Attorney General and DOJ with the courage and vision to end the “deterrence only” misconstruction of our laws and stand up for the legal and human rights of migrants, regardless of race, color, creed, or manner of entry. That’s not what Garland has been doing to date! Too bad, because there will be no resolution of immigration issues — nor will there be racial justice in America — without an AG who will stand up for the real rule of law rather than the parody of the law and justice purveyed by Miller and his White Nationalists and still being parroted and too often defended by Garland and his minions.

🇺🇸Due Process Forever.



🤯👎🏽MORE CIRCUIT REJECTS FOR GARLAND & PRELOGAR — 1st & 3rd Cirs “Just Say No” To DOJ’s Ill-Advised Positions On “Theft Offense” & Derivative Citizenship!  — It’s Part Of A Larger Leadership Failure @ Garland’s Broken DOJ!