Immigration Law

Cornell Immigration Clinic Wins Interesting CAT Case

"From 2007 to 2010, Naskovets was an identity thief — the voice on the phone that explained questionable purchases to banks and gave final approval for fraudulent wire transfers. He didn’t convince every agent; about a third of the time, the scam didn’t work, he says. Hang up, move on. But he was successful enough to smooth the way for more than 5,000 instances of fraud, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. ...

Factoring in time served and a reduction for good behavior, Naskovets got out [of prison] in September 2012. He faced a deportation order that would have sent him back to Belarus. Representing himself in immigration court, he argued that he risked torture if sent home, based on his run-ins with the KGB. As a signatory to the U.N. Convention Against Torture, the U.S. cannot send someone back to a country knowing he’s likely to be tortured. An immigration judge sided with Naskovets. The government appealed.

Here’s where Naskovets’s optimism proved justified. While he was buffing floors in a county prison in Pennsylvania, his case had caught the attention of Stephen Yale-Loehr, a law professor who runs an immigration clinic at Cornell. With the help of Yale-Loehr and his students, Naskovets fought Immigration and Customs Enforcement in court for two years—and in October 2014 the agency decided to let him stay." - Bloomberg, July 15, 2015.