U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

Founding partner, Paul Scott, with the help of his team members at the Scott Law Firm argued before the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of a petition for review filed for a lawful permanent resident who was ordered deported despite the fact that the government failed to prove his is deportable. This was a violation of his Due Process rights in his immigration removal proceedings. This case has been litigated since 2017. It has been seen before 15 judges, remanded, and terminated. Yesterday, Mr. Scott argued before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to seek due process for our client.

Our client was a Lawful Permanent Resident who was placed in removal proceedings following a Notice to Appear issued by the Department of Homeland Security. Lawful Permanent Residents are afforded the same rights and privileges of an American citizen, except the right to vote. After being placed in removal proceedings, our client requested a bond proceeding where evidence of his conviction was introduced. It is important to note that bond proceedings are informal, off the record hearings, that generally allow any and all evidence to be introduced. At the bond hearing, evidence of our client’s convictions was introduced. Immediately following the bond hearing, the client was placed before the same judge for his removal proceedings. During the removal proceedings, the Immigration Judge illegally read into the record the information from the bond hearing without the government formally introducing this evidence to find our client removable.

Removal proceedings involve a two-step process: the first step is to determine whether a person is removable. If the government does not satisfy its burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence, then the removal proceedings must be terminated. If the government satisfies their burden of proof, then the alien still has an opportunity to seek relief alternative relief. In this case, the government failed to satisfy their burden of proof of finding our client removable because they failed to submit documentation of our client’s convictions records into the removal proceedings, which would have been used to determine whether his conviction was grounds for removal. Instead, the Immigration Judge relied on a document from the bond hearing that was only illegally read into the removal proceedings, but not introduced into the removal proceedings, creating a snowball effect of an unfair and unjustifiable finding of removability.

Although the client denied the allegations in the Notice to Appear, the Immigration Judge found him removable based on the information that was unjustly read into the record, forcing him to find an alternate ground for relief, adjustment of status. In his applications for Adjustment of Status, our client had to admit to any arrest or convictions. The Government attempted to circumvent their burden of proof by using our client’s admissions as a basis for satisfying their burden. However, the law protects our clients from his admissions being used to satisfy the government's burden. Moreover, the Government attempted to use our client’s admissions from his relief phase in the removal proceedings to find that he is removal, which further demonstrates that they never satisfied their initial burden of finding him removable. Nevertheless, those admissions are illegal because the Immigration Judge improperly found our client removable because the government never submitted the proper documents that are required to uphold a conviction and finding of removability. Therefore, the removable proceedings against our client should have been terminated.

At the oral argument, the attorney for the government argued that it was just a mere oversight that the conviction document was absent from the record. However, the consequences of today’s hearing meant that the government could get away with not meeting their burden by finding a Lawful Permanent Resident removable without any conviction documents or due process of law.