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Immigration Law

CA9 on Right to Counsel: Orozco-Lopez v. Garland

Orozco-Lopez v. Garland

"[W]e hold that non-citizens whose removal orders have been reinstated are statutorily entitled to counsel, at no expense to the government, at their reasonable fear hearings before an IJ. This statutory entitlement is cabined by 8 C.F.R. § 208.31(g)(1)’s requirement that, “[i]n the absence of exceptional circumstances,” such hearings “shall be conducted by the immigration judge within 10 days of the filing of the Notice of Referral to Immigration Judge with the immigration court.” Because this right was denied to Orozco-Lopez, we remand his case to the agency for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. However, Gonzalez’s statutory right to counsel was not violated because he had the opportunity to retain counsel and failed to do so, and his other challenges are without merit. Orozco-Lopez’s petition, No. 20-70127, is GRANTED and REMANDED. Gonzalez’s petition, No. 20-71308, is DENIED."

[Hats off to Chanakya A. Sethi, Alison V. Zoschak, Sabrina Damast, Nadia Dahab, Stephen Manning, Jordan Cunnings, and Tess Hellgren!]