Litigating Post-Conviction Relief in Immigration Court

Post-conviction relief is a critical remedy for removing the devastating effects of criminal convictions. For immigrants—who experience high levels of discrimination and ineffective defense—post-conviction relief serves to prevent and correct wrongful deportations and denials of immigration status. IDP litigates to push back against federal standards set by the BIA and former Attorneys General that do not recognize several forms of post-conviction relief in immigration proceedings including vacaturs, expungements, and sentencing modifications. Through amicus briefing and technical assistance in the circuit courts and before the BIA and immigration courts and agencies, we challenge existing standards like Matter of Pickering, Matter of Roldan, Matter of Thomas & Thompson, and Matter of Velasquez-Rios.

Contact IDP’s Litigation team at [email protected]. Reach out to Andrew Wachtenheim, [email protected], or Nabilah Siddiquee, [email protected]

Beyond Roldan and Pickering: Arguing that All Post-Conviction Relief Must Be Recognized by Immigration Law

The BIA’s standards for when it will recognize post-conviction relief are wrong and unauthorized interpretations of law. This resource—a sample memorandum of law that can be filed in immigration and federal court proceedings nationally—argues that Congress wrote the INA to continue to give full effect to state post-conviction relief in nearly all instances, and that the BIA’s precedents in Matter of Roldan and Matter of Pickering must be reversed by the BIA sitting en banc, the Attorney General, or a federal court. 

Cases Regarding Immigration Recognition of State Post-Conviction Relief

Arias Jovel v. Garland (9th Cir. 2022, pending)

Amicus Brief of IDPPickering, Roldan, “conviction” definition, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(A), statutory construction, Cal. P.C. 1473.7

In re. C- (BIA 2022, pending, BIA Amicus Invitation No. 22-16-03)

Amicus Brief of IDP and Harvard Crimmigration Clinic – “conviction” definition, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(A), statutory construction, motion to reopen, vacatur, post-conviction relief

Cross v. Garland (2d Cir. 2022, pending)

Amicus Brief of IDP and NILA – equitable tolling, motion to reopen, vacatur, post-conviction relief, narcotic overbreadth

Siriboe v. Garland (2d Cir. 2022)

Amicus Brief of IDP and Harvard Crimmigration ClinicPickering, Thomas & Thompson, “conviction” definition, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(A), statutory construction
Amicus Brief of Cardozo Immigrant Justice Clinic and State Appellate DefendersRodriguez-Ruiz, arbitrary and capricious

In re. R-T- (BIA 2021)

Amicus Brief of IDP and Harvard Crimmigration ClinicPickering, Thomas & Thompson, “conviction” definition, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(A), statutory construction

Cases Challenging Matter of Thomas and Thompson (State Changes to Sentencing)

Pacheco Vega v. Att’y Gen. (3d Cir., pending)

Amicus Brief of IDP and Harvard Crimmigration Clinic (amicus co-counsel Philip Torrey and Tiffany Lieu, Harvard Crimmigration Clinic)  – Thomas & Thompson, “sentence” definition, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(B), rules of statutory construction

Zaragoza v. Garland (7th Cir., pending)

Amicus Brief of AILA, IDP, et al. (amicus counsel Nadia Anguiano-Wehde, University of Minnesota Law School)  – Thomas & Thompson, “sentence” definition, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(B), statutory construction

Cases Challenging Matter of Velasquez-Rios (State Legislative Changes to Sentencing)

Peguero Vasquez v. Garland (2d Cir., pending)

Amicus Brief of IDPVelasquez-Rios, CIMT, “conviction” definition, “sentence” definition, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(B), statutory construction, preemption
Amicus Brief of Cardozo Law School Immigration Justice Clinic and New York Defender OrganizationsVelasquez-Rios, CIMT, McNeill, Armed Career Criminal Act

Velasquez-Rios v. Barr & Desai v. Barr (9th Cir. 2020)

Amicus Brief in Support of Petition for RehearingVelasquez-Rios, CIMT, “conviction” definition, “sentence” definition, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(B), statutory construction

Cases and Resources Regarding Immigration “Finality” Rule

Resources on Post-Conviction Relief