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Immigration Law

Right to Counsel Victory at CA9: Zuniga v. Barr

Zuniga v. Barr

"This case presents us with a simple question: do noncitizens subject to expedited removal under 8 U.S.C. § 1228 have a statutory right to counsel in reasonable fear proceedings before immigration judges? The answer, based on the plain language of § 1228, is yes. Petitioner Baldemar Zuniga contends that in his hearing before an Immigration Judge (“IJ”) to review a negative reasonable fear determination made by an asylum officer, the IJ denied him his right to counsel. Because we conclude that Zuniga had a statutory right to counsel, that the colloquy at the beginning of the hearing before the IJ was inadequate to waive that right, and that no showing of prejudice is required, we reverse and remand for further proceedings in which Zuniga is given the opportunity to proceed with counsel."

[Hats off to Bob Pauw!]