Positive steps for immigration last week in Congress, and in the Courts

Posted by Sean P. Wickens on Oct 07, 2013 | 0 Comments

Last week, Democrats in the House proposed an immigration reform bill which will hopefully reignite the discussion on immigration reform.

On another note, the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Vladimir Perez Santana. Mr. Perez Santana had been a lawful permanent residence since the age of nine. He was ordered removed based on one criminal conviction. Outside of Immigration Court, he sought post conviction relief. If he obtained post conviction relief while his immigration case was pending, then he would no longer be removable.

In Immigration Court, post conviction relief can often stop removal. So, if a legal permanent resident is in Immigration Court because of a criminal conviction, that individual ought to seek post conviction relief which, if successful, removes a conviction from his or her record. To obtain post conviction relief, a individual must petition the Court that originally entered the conviction to vacate it.

While immigration proceedings were pending, Mr. Perez Santana actively sought relief in criminal court - but his conviction was not vacated soon enough. The Immigration Judge ordered him removed from the United States before he could obtain relief in criminal court.

After Mr. Perez Santana was ordered removed, the Criminal Court vacated his conviction - the sole basis for his removal. Mr. Perez Santana then asked the Board of Immigration Appeals to reopen his case - the Board denied his request because of the "Removal Bar," a regulation that precludes a motion to reopen when a deported individual is abroad.  

Mr. Perez Santana ultimately appealed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals who agreed that Mr. Perez Santana should have an opportunity to file a motion to reopen from outside the United States.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling benefits many legal permanent residents who have been ordered removed, and have subsequently vacated the conviction that caused their removal in the first place..... and for Mr. Perez Santana it is a victory, because he can now get in front of the Immigration Court to fight his case.

About the Author

Sean P. Wickens

Founding member, Sean P. Wickens, has been practicing law in Western Washington for over 17 years. During that time he has developed a reputation as an aggressive, innovative and skilled attorney who cares deeply for his clients and works tirelessly to protect their rights and interests.


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