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Immigration Law

CA9 on Competence Evaluations: Calderon v. Sessions

Calderon v. Sessions, Jan. 3, 2018 - Court Staff Summary: "The panel granted Henri Calderon-Rodriguez’s petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision, concluding that the Board in two related ways abused its discretion in affirming the IJ’s competence evaluation and determination. First, the Board affirmed the IJ’s inaccurate factual findings, failing to recognize that the medical record upon which the IJ and Board heavily relied was nearly a year old, and that it may have no longer reflected Calderon’s mental state. Second, the Board affirmed the IJ’s departure from the standards set out by the Board for competency determinations in Matter of M-A-M-, 25 I. & N. Dec. 474 (BIA 2011). Specifically, the panel concluded that the IJ did not adequately ensure that the Department of Homeland Security complied with its obligation to provide the court with relevant materials in its possession that would inform the court about Calderon's mental competency. In this respect, the panel noted that, importantly, neither the IJ nor the Board recognized that, as DHS was providing ongoing medical care to Calderon as a detainee, it necessarily possessed additional relevant, but not introduced, medical records. The panel remanded to the Board with instructions to remand Calderon’s case to the IJ for a competence evaluation based on current mental health reviews and medical records, as well as any other relevant evidence."

[Hats off to Taiyyeba S. Skomra (argued), Helen A. Sklar, and Amy P. Lenhert, of Stone Grzegorek & Gonzalez, LLP!]