Georgia Law Appellate Litigation Clinic students invoke Convention Against Torture in 9th Circuit oral argument

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard arguments last week in an immigration case involving the Convention against Torture – a case prepared by a team of students in the Appellate Litigation Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Georgia Law 3L Jason N. Sigalos argued on behalf of client Graciela Arellano Herrera in Case No. 19-72750, Arellano Herrera v. Barr. On account of the covid-19 pandemic, Sigalos’ argument was delivered virtually (video here), to a panel composed of Ninth Circuit Judges Margaret M. McKeown and Lawrence James Christopher VanDyke, along with U.S. District Judge Virginia Mary Kendall, sitting by designation. (Sigalos, who spoke from Georgia Law’s Hatton Lovejoy Courtroom, is pictured above at bottom right.)

Joining Sigalos on the briefs were his classmates in the Appellate Litigation Clinic (prior posts), 3L Mollie M. Fiero and John Lex Kenerly IV, who earned his J.D. earlier this year.

Together they represent appellant Arellano Herrera, the mother of seven children and grandmother of another seven, all U.S.-born citizens. The client herself has lived in this country since her parents brought her to the United States three days after her birth in Mexico.

Her appeal seeks reversal of a Board of Immigration Appeals order that she be removed from the United States. Relying on non-refoulement (non-return) obligations the United States took on when it ratified the 1984 Convention Against Torture, she argues that prior forced involvement with a drug cartel makes it unsafe for her to relocate anywhere in Mexico. She contends that if she were she to be sent back, it is more likely than not that cartel members would torture her, with the acquiescence of one or more public officials.

The Ninth Circuit panel is now deliberating.

Georgia Law Appellate Clinic secures at-risk client’s release from immigration detention center

The Appellate Litigation Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law has secured the release from immigration detention of a Cuban client who suffers from asthma and a history of cancer.

The 26 year old client, who has no criminal history, had come to the United States to avoid repeated police beatings for his protests against the government in Cuba. He had been held for nineteen months without a bond hearing at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, where as of mid-August 2 inmates had died from COVID-19 and more than 150 had been infected.

Students working through the clinic contended that their client’s medical condition increased the risk that while in detention during the present pandemic, he too would contract the novel coronavirus disease. They litigated his case in many administrative and judicial forums: a hearing on a motion for bond in Stewart Immigration Court; multiple parole requests to ICE, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency; a habeas petition before the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia; and an opening brief and motion to expedite before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Working on the case were Addison Smith and Spencer D. Woody, both of whom earned their Juris Doctor degrees this past spring, along with 3L Steven L. Miller and 2Ls Christopher O. Brock, Destiny J. Burch and Maria C. “Mia” Hughes.

The merits appeal and detention appeal both continue even though the client has been released from ICE custody. Under the supervision of Thomas V. Burch and Anna White Howard, who direct Georgia Law’s Appellate Litigation Clinic, students will continue to pursue an Eleventh Circuit judgment in their client’s favor.

(Credit for photo of the Elbert P. Tuttle Courthouse in Atlanta, home to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit)

Georgia Law Professor Jason A. Cade secures grant to address needs of immigrants, other vulnerable communities during COVID-19 crisis

Jason A. Cade, J. Alton Hosch Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Community Health Law  Partnership Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has secured a $10,000 Flom Incubator Grant from the Skadden Foundation to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on immigrant families and other vulnerable communities in Athens, Georgia, and surrounding rural areas.

The grant will enable Cade and a coalition of partners to develop and launch a model for remote screening, advice, and advocacy, aimed at addressing these communities’ most pressing needs for civil legal assistance. If successful, the model could be expanded to other communities, in Georgia and elsewhere, both during and beyond the current pandemic.

Named after a late partner of the Skadden law firm, Flom Incubator Grants support novel legal projects undertaken in the public interest by former Skadden Fellows – like Professor Cade, who, before joining the Georgia Law faculty, was a Skadden Public Interest Fellow at The Door, a New York-based nonprofit dedicated to the development of young people.

Georgia Law Professor Jason Cade presents on dissent, borderlands at Washington-St. Louis Law

Jason A. Cade, J. Alton Hosch Associate Professor of Law and the Director of the Community Health Law Partnership Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law, recently presented his article entitled “Death, Dissent, and Democracy in the Borderlands” at a faculty workshop at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri.

Georgia Law Professor Cade presents at Immigration Theory Workshop at University of Houston Law Center

Jason A. Cade, J. Alton Hosch Associate Professor of Law and the Director of the Community Health Law Partnership Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law, presented on a panel, entitled “Where are We Now? Unpacking Migration’s Present,” at the inaugural interdisciplinary Immigration Theory Workshop: “Imagining Migration After Populism,” held recently at the University of Houston Law Center in Houston, Texas.

Georgia Law Community HeLP Clinic seeks immigration law staff attorney

The University of Georgia School of Law welcomes applications for the position of full-time staff attorney at our Community Health Law Partnership Clinic, which, as indicated in this prior post, represents noncitizens and low-income persons, primarily in the areas of immigration law and public benefits law.

Known as Community HeLP, this clinic has operated since 2014 as a medical-legal partnership serving the Athens, Georgia, area. It is one of Georgia Law’s 19 clinical and externship initiatives, several of which engage staff attorneys or legal fellows.

The Community HeLP staff attorney will work with the Clinic’s Director, Jason A. Cade, J. Alton Hosch Associate Professor of Law (prior posts), as well as administrative staff and community partners, to ensure the effective management of the clinic.

Based on a clinical practice model, the staff attorney’s duties will include:

  • Helping to supervise law school students enrolled in the Community HeLP Clinic, who are representing clients or engaging in advocacy projects, and further assisting with the Clinic seminar (pictured above) for those students;
  • Building and maintaining community partnerships and referral relationships.
  • Assuming primary responsibility for cases that either begin outside of, or do not conclude during, the academic year; or that exceed the capacity of students to handle during the academic year.

Qualifications sought include:

  • Possession of a J.D. degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association and of a license to practice law in at least one U.S. state. Candidates admitted to a state bar other than Georgia will be expected to seek admission to the Georgia Bar within six months of hire.
  • Outstanding skills in administrative advocacy; excellent written and oral communication abilities; a demonstrated commitment to public interest law and working with underserved populations; strong organizational and time-management skills; an ability to supervise law students effectively; and an ability to build and maintain community relationships.

Preference will be given to applicants who are fluent in both Spanish and English and who have at least two years’ practice experience in immigration law, ideally including some representation of clients in detention or removal proceedings.

For further information, contact Professor Cade at cadej@uga.edu.

Applications may be submitted here. Those received by March 16, 2020, will be assured consideration; thereafter, applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

Georgia Law Professor Cohen publishes at Just Security on “The National Security Delegation Conundrum”

“How much authority — how much room to make policy choices—can Congress delegate to the president and executive branch?”

So begins “The National Security Delegation Conundrum,” an analysis of the foreign relations jurisprudence of the U.S. Supreme Court, published at Just Security by Harlan Grant Cohen, Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia Law.

The focus of Cohen’s commentary is Gundy v. United States, a June 20 decision by a divided Court (4 supporting an opinion by Justice Elena Kagan and 3 an opinion by Justice Neil Gorsuch; Justice Samuel Alito concurred in the judgment). It declined to revive the nondelegation doctrine — but did so, Professor Cohen points out, in a way that raised further questions on how that doctrine applies to cases involving national security.

Instances in which these questions might be relevant have occurred frequently in the last couple years, Cohen wrote, on issues as varied as migration of peoples and trade in auto parts. After analyzing the issues at hand, Cohen concluded that Gundy did little to resolve them:

“What is clear though is that until a test or principle is found, the national security delegation conundrum will remain.”

The full Just Security analysis is here.

Georgia Law Community HeLP Clinic students aid clients’ citizenship bid

Students in the University of Georgia School of Law Community Health Law Partnership Clinic recently succeeded in assisting 2 clients from Egypt who were seeking to become naturalized U.S. citizens.

Working this year to prepare the clients for interviews and their 2019 naturalization ceremony were 3L Amy E. Buice, above center, and 2L William D. Ortiz, above left. Also working on the case were 3L Sarah A. Mirza and Onur Yildirim (JD’18), who last year helped prepare the clients’ naturalization applications.

The students were supervised by Professor Jason A. Cade, Director of Georgia Law’s Community HeLP Clinic, which assists low-income persons with immigration, benefits, and other health-harming legal needs.

Students in Georgia Law’s Appellate Litigation Clinic win Board of Immigration Appeals case on behalf of asylum-seeker from Russia

Four students in the University of Georgia School of Law Appellate Litigation Clinic have just secured asylum relief for a Russian client, and in so doing earned hands-on experience in practicing law in today’s interconnected world.

The client, Rim Iakovlev, is a Jehovah’s Witness who had fled to the United States after a ruling by the Russian Supreme Court outlawed his religion. A U.S. immigration judge granted his petition for asylum. But the U.S. Department of Homeland Security appealed. It was at this point that the Board of Immigration Appeals, through its pro bono project, appointed Georgia Law’s Appellate Litigation Clinic to represent asylum-seeker Iakovlev. The Board is an administrative appellate agency within the Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Department of Justice.

Drafting the brief in the case, under supervision by Professor Thomas V. Burch, Director of the Appellate Litigation Clinic, were four Georgia Law students: 3Ls Wade H. Barron, C. Daniel Lockaby, and Sarah A. Quattrocchi, and 2L Addison Smith. Their brief stressed consistencies in the accounts given by Iakovlev and his wife, and also refuted the DHS contention that the asylum-seeker was obliged to present a letter from his congregation attesting to his status as a Jehovah’s Witness.

Upon reading the parties’ briefs, the Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed the immigration judge’s decision to grant Iakovlev’s petition for asylum. DHS chose not to appeal the Board’s decision, so that Iakovlev was released from detention last week.

Alumna Anita Ninan speaks to LLM students on business immigration

Last week, attorney Anita Ninan (LLM’91) spoke on “The Road to U.S. Employment: F-1 Visa Work Options and Onwards” here at the University of Georgia School of Law. Her remarks acquainted foreign-educated lawyers studying for their Master of Laws (LLM) degree with opportunities and challenges associated with obtaining U.S. work authorization.

Ninan, a member of our Dean Rusk International Law Center Council, outlined the available work visas, discussed the impact of an April 2017 executive order on immigration, and explained the details of Optional Practical Training.

An expert in corporate and business immigration law, Ninan advises corporate clients and foreign nationals regarding all aspects of employment-based U.S. immigration law. She is a dual licensed attorney, admitted to practice law in both the State of Georgia and India.

Ninan has worked as Of Counsel with Arnall Golden Gregory LLP and Greenberg Traurig LLP in their Immigration and Compliance Practices in Atlanta. Previously, she served as in-house Legal Counsel with Standard Chartered Bank, a British multinational Bank, in Mumbai and New Delhi, India.

President of the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, Ninan also serves as an Honorary Legal Advisor to the Indian Consulate General of Atlanta.