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Deadline for filing motions to reopen under Barahona settlement

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Deadline for filing motions to reopen under Barahona settlement extended to Mar. 20, 2005
Immigrants' Rights Update, Vol. 18, No. 6, September 21, 2004

The deadline for class members to file motions to reopen their deportation cases under the settlement in Barahona-Gomez v. Ashcroft is being extended to Mar. 20, 2005. The settlement provided for the motion-to-reopen period to terminate 18 months after publication of the agreement in the Federal Register. That publication took place on Mar. 20, 2003, and the deadline for motions was therefore Sept. 20, 2004. However, the settlement also provided for this period to be automatically extended a further six months if any class members filed motions within the six months prior to the original deadline. Attorneys for the U.S. Dept. of Justice have now confirmed to class counsel that at least one motion was filed during the latter period, and the deadline is therefore now extended to Mar. 20, 2005.

Barahona-Gomez is a class action lawsuit that challenged the actions of Executive Office for Immigration Review officials who in Feb. 1997 issued directives that halted immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals from granting suspension cases, based on their interpretation of the 4,000-person cap on suspension/adjustment grants imposed by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA). Under the settlement, class members in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit who ultimately were or could be denied suspension under the “stop-time rule,” but who could have had their suspension applications granted before the rule’s Apr. 1, 1997, effective date, will be able to have their cases decided without regard to the stop-time rule.

Under the settlement, individuals may be eligible for relief if they:

applied for suspension of deportation;

had their hearings take place within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit;

had their cases scheduled for an individual hearing on the merits before an immigration judge between Feb. 13, 1997, and Apr. 1, 1997; or had their cases pending at the BIA between Feb. 13, 1997, and Apr. 1, 1997, and the Notice of Appeal had been filed with the BIA on or before Oct. 1, 1996;

had the “stop-time rule” (of IIRIRA sec. 309(c)(5)) as the basis for the IJ or the BIA denying or not adjudicating the application for suspension of deportation; and

for cases before an IJ, the IJ must have (a) reserved a decision or continued the hearing until after Apr. 1, 1997; (b) issued a decision denying or not adjudicating the application for suspension of deportation; (c) not yet issued a decision; or (d) granted suspension of deportation and the Immigration and Naturalization Service appealed the decision based upon IIRIRA sec. 309(c)(5).

For a detailed explanation of the Barahona settlement, see “Court Approves Settlement in Class Action for Suspension Applicants,” IMMIGRANTS’ RIGHTS UPDATE, Dec. 23, 2002, p. 8. The full agreement is also available on the EOIR website: www.usdoj.gov/eoir.

ADDENDUM: In the Federal Register for Oct. 29, 2004, the Executive Office for Immigration Review published a notice of the extension of the deadline for filing motions to reopen under the Barahona settlement. 69 FR 63178 (Oct. 29, 2004)