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U.S. Department of Justice
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Office of the Director
5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 2400
Falls Church, Virginia 22041

NEWS RELEASE Contact: Public Affairs Office
(703)305-0289, Fax: (703) 605-0365

June 21, 2001


The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA or the Board) will travel to Boston, MA, to hear oral arguments in five pending appellate cases on June 21 and 22, 2001. Board Members will hear the oral arguments at the U.S. Courthouse, 1 Courthouse Way, 7th Floor, Boston, MA, at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on June 21, and 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 2:00 p.m. on June 22.

These oral arguments are scheduled as part of an ongoing initiative to make the immigration appeals process more accessible to parties in other areas of the country. It is part of a larger outreach effort by the Executive Office for Immigration Review to improve customer service overall. The Board has heard oral arguments in Los Angeles, CA, and San Antonio, TX, in 1998; Miami, FL, in 1999; and Chicago, IL, in 1999 and 2000.

The cases scheduled to be heard involve interesting or novel aspects of law suitable for oral argument. The cases are summarized below.

Case Summaries

Thursday, June 21, 2001:

Matter of Vallabhaneni, A76 724 694. This case involves an asylum applicant from India. Her persecution claim is based in part on her claim that she suffered severe abuse at the hands of her husband, and the authorities were unable or unwilling to help her. At issue is whether such a claim can form the basis for asylum. Proposed regulations addressing persecution claims based on membership in a particular social group, including persons abused by family members, were published in the last days of the Clinton Administration. The effect of those proposed rules, if any, on this case will be at issue at oral argument. Also at issue is the requirement that an asylum applicant show that she is unwilling or unable to avail herself of the protection of the government.

Matter of Salazar-Regina, A24 384 420. This case involves an alien who was convicted in Texas of the offense of possession of a controlled substance. Adjudication of guilt was "deferred" (a form of expungement of the conviction) under Texas law. The issues include what law should be applied in the case; under current precedent from the Board, the respondent would still be considered "convicted" for immigration purposes. However, under a decision of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, issued after the Board's precedent, there would be no conviction for immigration purposes. One issue at oral argument is whether the Ninth Circuit decision is correct and should be applied outside that circuit.

Friday, June 22, 2001:

Matter of Palma-Chacon, A72 453 992. This case involves an asylum applicant from Honduras who claims he suffered persecution on account of his political opinion. He claims that he was a local union leader and was arrested at a union demonstration where he was speaking. He testified that he was held for a few days, during which time he was beaten and his arm badly broken. The Immigration Judge found that the respondent was not credible. Issues include the question of the alien's credibility and if he is found credible, whether the harm he suffered rises to the level of past persecution within the meaning of the law.

Matter of Andazola-Rivas, A91 431 733. This case involves an alien who has lived in the United States unlawfully for many years and now seeks to legalize his status through a provision of the 1996 law called cancellation of removal. To establish eligibility for this relief, respondent must show that his spouse, parent, or child would suffer "exceptional and extremely unusual hardship" if he is deported to qualify for the relief. At issue is whether this alien has made such a showing. He has two United States citizen children, ages 5 and 10. The Immigration Judge granted relief, finding that the requisite showing of hardship had been made. The Immigration and Naturalization Service filed the appeal.

Matter of Hussain, A73 347 212. This case involves an asylum applicant from Bangladesh who was brought here as a minor by a United States citizen, and was apparently abused by him. The alien is now an adult. He claims he is a member of a particular social group consisting of orphans who have been victims of trafficking for sexual or other forms of slavery, and whom the Bangladeshi government is unwilling or unable to protect. Issues include whether the alien has suffered persecution on grounds protected by our asylum laws.

NOTE: In each of the asylum cases cited above, the respondent has waived his or her right to confidentiality.

Background of EOIR

EOIR is the component of the U.S. Department of Justice that is responsible for developing policies and directing activities related to the conduct of administrative hearings and appellate reviews on a variety of immigration issues, including the determination of individuals' immigration status in the United States. EOIR is headed by a Director who reports to the Deputy Attorney General. Its organization includes the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Offices of the Chief Immigration Judge and the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer.

- EOIR -

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