Oct. 21, 2016 – With the help of the American Immigration Council, University of Houston Law Center Clinical Associate Professor Geoffrey A. Hoffman filed an amicus brief Thursday on behalf of immigrants vulnerable to deportation by the U.S. Department of Justice's Board of Immigration Appeals.
Hoffman, director of the Law Center's Immigration Clinic, co-authored the brief with Mary Kenney and Aaron Reichlin-Melnick of the American Immigration Council. Law Center students Douglas Evans 3L, Tong Jin 2L, and Diana Melendez 2L also contributed to the brief.
"I was very happy the Law Center contributed and was a part of this national project," Hoffman said, "and I applaud the hard work of our clinical students who researched and wrote about this important issue."
At issue is the immigration status of "wave-through" entries to the U.S. A wave-through entry is described as a person or group of people in a vehicle who are waved through a border and granted admission into the country.
The brief argues that lawful permanent residents who entered the U.S. by a wave through should be entitled to apply for cancellation of removal if they otherwise meet requirements under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Lawful permanent residents must meet the following requirements to apply for a cancellation of removal: five years of green card status, seven years of having a continuous presence in the U.S., and no aggravated felony convictions.
The brief also discussed several precedential decisions by the Board of Immigration Appeals which traditionally have allowed for such admissions to form the basis of a claim for deportation relief.
The amicus brief was filed in response to the Board of Immigration Appeals' request for submissions on Sept. 19. The board was analyzing if a wave through entry grants the necessary status to qualify an individual for the seven-year residence requirement for a cancellation of removal.
Other law schools who signed on to the amicus brief included: the NYU School of Law's Immigrants Rights Clinic, Columbia Law School's Immigrants' Rights Clinic, Loyola Law School's Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic, and the Center for Social Justice and Loyola Law School's Immigrant Justice Clinic.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, National Immigrant Justice Center, and YMCA International Legal Services signed on as well to the amicus brief.