Assisting Government Administrative Tribunals Properly Interpret the Law
February 14, 2017
(Washington, D.C.) – The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed three amicus briefs on behalf of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in three different cases concerning immigration fraud, criminal aliens, and national security.
In the first case, the BIA asked whether the crime of misprision of a felony constituted a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) and whether precedent stating that misprision of a felony is a CIMT could be applied retroactively. Misprision of a felony occurs when an individual knows about the commission of a felony and takes steps to affirmatively conceal the felony from the authorities. Aliens convicted of a CIMT are removable. In its brief, IRLI argued that misprision of a felony fulfilled the elements of a CIMT because an individual convicted of misprision of a felony knowingly takes steps to conceal the underlying crime and continues to put society at risk for future criminal acts. IRLI also argued the applicable precedent could be applied retroactively. The brief is available here.
In the second case, the BIA asked whether the term “material” has an independent meaning in the phrase “material support” and whether a de minimis (minimal) exception to the material support bar exists for money contributions. Under immigration law, a person who provides “material support” to a terrorism-related activity is “inadmissible” (not allowed to enter) the United States and is ineligible for most immigration benefits. In its brief, IRLI argued that the term “material” does not possess an independent meaning from the term “material support” because statutory construction, comparison with the criminal and civil sanction of other antiterrorism legislation, and syntax all confirm that “material support” is a unitary term of art in immigration and antiterrorism law. Additionally, IRLI argued that Congress has stripped the BIA of jurisdiction to provide relief from the material support bar for de minimus acts. The brief is available here.
In the third case, the BIA asked if a determination of marriage fraud in a prior visa petition proceeding alone is sufficient to deny a subsequent visa petition submitted on behalf of the same person in a subsequent visa petition proceeding. In its brief, IRLI argued that if marriage fraud (or its absence) was determined in a prior adversarial visa proceeding, that determination is conclusive in a subsequent visa proceeding provided (1) that the determination of marriage fraud was a grounds for the denial of the initial visa petition, and (2) the petitioner had a full and fair opportunity to contest the determination. The brief is available here.