Friday, July 31, 2020
By Sydney France
The US Attorney General has the power in immigration proceedings to take cases from the Board of Immigration Appeals and issue a final ruling himself. This process of certification is controversial. The Immprof blog has discussed this power here and here.
Politico reports that Attorney General Barr is reopening the case of an asylee, granted asylum almost 15 years ago. It involves the killing of the Bangladesh president, a decades-old death sentence for the Bangladeshi military officer Rashed Chowdhury, and a hard-fought battle for asylum pitting this former Bangladeshi military officer against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In 2006, the BIA affirmed the Immigration Judge’s ruling that the applicant deserved asylum. In June, 2020, Barr directed the BIA to send the case to him. It is unclear why AG Barr reopened the case after so many years, but it appears to be motivated by a political favor to the Bangledeshi government after years of lobbying for Chowdhury's extradition. This is a controversial use of the certification power, and a sign that in asylum cases, “nothing can truly be final.”
“Immigration lawyers say the move sends a chilling message to people who have received asylum in the U.S. It signals, they argue, that even after years of successful legal battles, any protection could still be revoked out of the blue,” says Jeremy McKinney, the first vice president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Sydney France is a student at the University of Colorado Law School (Class of 2021).