Monday, April 13, 2015


The Immigrant Defense Project applauds the April 10 Order of Attorney General Eric Holder vacating Matter of Silva-Trevino, 24 I&N Dec. 287 (AG 2008), a decision that has led to the deportation of many immigrants from the United States. Since the Silva-Trevino decision issued in 2008, IDP and allies have been at the forefront of efforts to reverse it. IDP is especially appreciative of extraordinary advocacy by National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Executive Director Norman L. Reimer, as well as American Bar Association President James R. Silkenat, American Immigration Lawyers Association Executive Director Crystal Williams, the National Immigration Project and our other federal court litigation allies, the Cardozo School of Law Immigration Justice Clinic, the NYU School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic, and Mr. Silva-Trevino’s lawyer Lisa Brodyaga. This action by the sitting Attorney General is a tremendous step in the restoration of justice and due process to immigrants facing possible deportation consequences because of past criminal convictions.

Attorney General Robert Mukasey issued the Silva-Trevino decision in 2008, permitting immigration judges to find an immigrant deportable on the basis of alleged facts never established in that immigrant’s criminal case. Since 2008, IDP and allies, represented by the Cardozo School of Law Immigration Justice Clinic and by the NYU School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic, have engaged in administrative advocacy with the Department of Justice and in litigation in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals to remove this deeply problematic decision from immigration jurisprudence.

Based in part on the amicus briefing filed by IDP, NIPNLG, and partner organizations, five federal appellate courts rejected the Silva-Trevino opinion.The briefing pointed out how re-trying criminal cases in immigration court is deeply unfair to immigrants, who are often detained and lack counsel and who may have given up their right to trial and agreed to plead guilty specifically to avoid immigration consequences.  IDP applauds the Obama administration for taking this important step.


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