Immigration Appeals Not as Successful as Hoped

Despite winning appeals, some deported immigrants are still not able to return to the United States.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Justice Department told the U.S. Supreme Court three years ago that people deported under unfavorable court decisions would be allowed to return to the United States if they won an appeal. However, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff has said there is little likelihood for those wrongfully deported to return, no matter what the circumstances.

One such case is David Gerbier, who was deported to Haiti in 2002. After winning an appeal, it took him eight years to return to the United States. He was unable to return any sooner due to the federal government’s immigration services continual rebuffs of his case. Gerbier finally returned to his family after the Immigrant Rights Clinic at New York University intervened.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, many immigration lawyers have never even heard of the Justice Department’s 2009 policy, and the NYU clinic recently sued to gain access to this policy. U.S. district Judge Jed Rakoff sided with NYU, stating in his 20-page opinion that there is “substantial evidence that the judicial process may have been impugned if the Supreme Court relied upon what may well have been inaccurate or distorted factual representation.”

Stanford Law School’s director of the Center on the Legal Profession, Deborah Rhode, told the WSJ that the Justice Department now has a responsibility to correct its erroneous conduct.

“Lawyers for the solicitor general’s office carry special responsibilities to present a full and fair record,” said Rhode. “The policy should be revised to be what the government said it was.”