Thomas K. RaglandThomas Ragland Clark Hill
Thomas K. Ragland
Thomas K. Ragland is a Member in Clark Hill’s Washington, D.C. office. Thomas has practiced immigration law for more than 20 years. Prior to joining private practice, Thomas worked for 10 years in the U.S. Department of Justice, joining directly after graduating from law school through the Attorney General’s Honor Program. At DOJ, Thomas represented the government in the Boston Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the Civil Division Office of Immigration Litigation. Since leaving the government in 2004, Thomas has devoted himself to guiding individuals and companies through the complex, often overwhelming U.S. immigration system. He brings an unwavering commitment to his clients and a genuine desire to help them achieve their goals and dreams – whether obtaining U.S. citizenship or permanent residence, avoiding deportation, obtaining visas for employees or family members, or challenging agency decisions in federal court. Having worked on both sides of the system, Thomas brings wide-ranging experience and a deep understanding of this country’s immigration laws. He is highly regarded as a top litigator, a creative legal thinker, and a tireless advocate for his clients.
In June 2013, Thomas was awarded the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s highest honor, the Edith Lowenstein Award for Excellence in Advancing the Practice of Immigration Law.
Thomas focuses his practice on litigation before the federal courts, immigration courts, and the Board of Immigration Appeals as well as representation of clients before the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. consulates abroad. He is a seasoned litigator known for handling complex matters for both individual and corporate clients. He has specific experience in district court and appellate litigation, defense against removal, immigration consequences of criminal convictions, asylum, waivers of inadmissibility, citizenship and permanent residence, complex consular matters, post-conviction relief in federal court, and defense against terrorism- and security-related bars to admission. He has been recognized by The Washington Post as one of “Washington, D.C.’s Best Lawyers” and was named by Washingtonian Magazine as one of “Washington’s Top Lawyers.” He is ranked by Chambers USA, and is listed in Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, and The International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers.
Thomas is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at the American University’s Washington College of Law. He is the former Chair of the Federal Court Litigation Section, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and remains a member of the Section’s steering committee. He has also served on AILA’s Access to Counsel Committee, on the Board of Advisors of the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center, and on the Advisory Board of the Muslim Legal Fund of America. He is a frequent writer and speaker on immigration issues.
Prior to joining Clark Hill, Thomas was a named partner in a D.C.-based immigration firm. He is a 1994 cum laude graduate of Boston College Law School, where he was Editor in Chief of the Boston College Third World Law Journal, and a graduate, with honors, of the University of Virginia.
- Co-Author, “How to Deal with ‘Impossible’ Visa Denials and Cancellations,” Practice Advisory for 201 AILA Annual Conference.
- Contributing Editor, AILA’s Asylum Primer: A Practical Guide to U.S. Asylum Law and Procedure, Seventh Edition by Dree Collopy (2015).
- Author of “The Petition for Review,” Practice Advisory for 2014 AILA Fall Topics CLE Conference.
- Author of “The 212(h) Aggravated Felony Bar: The BIA Versus the Courts,” for 2014 AILA South Florida Chapter CLE Conference.
- Author of “The Top 10 Things to Remember: Petitions for Rehearing,” Practice Advisory for 2013 AILA Annual Conference. Author (with Cheryl David and Emily White) of “Waivers and Litigation” Practice Advisory for 2012 AILA Fall Topics CLE Conference.
- Author (with Jennifer D. Cook) of “Litigating Immigration Cases in Federal Court,” book chapter, What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About Immigration Law (American Bar Association 2012).
- Co-author, “Terrorism-Related Inadmissibility Grounds: Litigation Strategies in the U.S. and Canada,” Law & Society Association, 2010.
- Co-author, “U.S. Supreme Court’s Sixth-Amendment Ruling Requires Defense Counsel to Inform Immigrant When Plea May Lead to Deportation,” Duane Morris Alert, April 7, 2010.
- Quoted in “Why are U.S.-allied refugees still branded as ‘terrorists?'” by Marisa Taylor, McClatchy Newspapers, July 26, 2009.
- “What did Compean Accomplish? The Uncertain Right to Effective Assistance of Counsel in Immigration Proceedings,” American Bar Association Section of Litigation, June 2009.
- “E-Verify Requirement for Federal Contractors Delayed Again,” Duane Morris Alert, June 2, 2009.
- “Nken v. Holder: Impact on Stays of Removal and Beyond,” American Bar Association Section of Litigation, May 2009.
- “Supreme Court Strikes Down Long-Standing BIA Interpretation of ‘Persecutor Bar’,” American Bar Association Section of Litigation, March 2009.
- Mentioned in “Freedom Fighters Need Not Apply” by Anna Husarska, Washington Post, December 15, 2008.
- Quoted in “U.S. allies losing asylum bids over definition of ‘terrorist'” by Marisa Taylor, McClatchy Newspapers, May 2, 2009.
- Contributing Editor, Kurzban’s Immigration Law Sourcebook, 11th & 12th eds., 2008, 2010.
- Quoted in “Stalwart Service for U.S. in Iraq Is Not Enough to Gain Green Card” by Karen DeYoung, Washington Post, March 23, 2008.
- “Supreme Court Rules for Thousands Deported: State Felony Drug Possession Offense That Would be Classified as a Misdemeanor Under Federal Law Is Not an ‘Aggravated Felony,'” Bender’s Immigration Bulletin, December 18, 2006.
- “Burma’s Rohingyas in Crisis: Protection of ‘Humanitarian’ Refugees under International Law,” Boston College Third World Law Journal 301, Summer 1994.
- “Presumed Incredible: A View from the Dissent,” 75 Interpreter Releases 1541, November 9, 1998.
Selected Speaking Engagements
- Panelist, “How to Deal with ‘Impossible’ Visa Denials and Cancellations” and “What Business Immigration Attorneys Need to Know About Federal Court,” American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Annual Conference, Washington, DC, June 17-20, 2015.
- Panelist, “Family Based Petitions and Successful Waiver Applications,” AILA 2015 Philadelphia Chapter Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mar. 27, 2015.
- Panelist, “Appellate Issues,” AILA 2014 Fall Topics CLE Conference, Seattle, Washington, Sept. 19, 2014.
- Panelist, “Complicated Naturalization Cases,” AILA 2014 Federal Court Litigation CLE Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, Feb. 28, 2014.
- Panelist, “Fraud and Criminal Waivers, the New Terrain,” 35th Annual Immigration Law Update, Miami, Florida, Feb. 6-7, 2014.
- Panelist, “Effective Appellate Brief Writing,” American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Annual Conference, San Francisco, California, June 24-27, 2013.
- Faculty Member and Conference Committee Member, AILA/AIC 2013 Litigation Institute, Washington, DC, March 8-10, 2013.
- Panelist, “BIA and Federal Court Update: and “Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers,” 34th Annual Immigration Law Update Conference, Miami, Florida, Feb. 7-8, 2013.
- Panelist, “Litigating Immigration Cases in Federal Court” and “Latest Updates in ‘Crimmigration’ Law,” 10th Annual Immigration Law Institute, Columbus, Ohio, Nov. 1, 2012.
- Panelist, “Waivers and Litigation,” AILA Fall Topics CLE Conference, Montreal, Quebec, Sept. 14, 2012.
- Panelist, “Federal Court Litigation Masters,” AILA Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, June 13-16, 2012.
- Discussion Leader, “Welcome to Federal Court” and “Challenging Consular Decisions,” American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Federal Court Immigration Litigation CLE Practicum & Webcast, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 5-6, 2012.
- Panelist, “Recent Developments in Employment Based Adjudication,” American Bar Association’s 2011 Fall Administrative Law Conference, Washington, D.C., November 17-18, 2011.
- Panelist, “The Immigration Consequences of Sex Offenses,” American Immigration Lawyers Association Annual Conference, San Diego, California, June 15-18, 2011.
- Discussion Leader, “Challenging Consular Decisions,” American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Federal Court Immigration Litigation CLE Practicum, Atlanta, Georgia, March 3-4, 2011.
- Moderator, “The Impact of Immigration Law: What Every Lawyer Should Know,” American Bar Association’s 2010 Administrative Law Conference, Washington, D.C., November 4, 2010.
- Discussion Leader, “Combating the Terrorism Bars Before DHS and the Courts,” American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference, National Harbor, Maryland, June 30-July 3, 2010.
- Panelist, “The Material Support Bar and Security Inadmissibility: Coordinating Advocacy and Analysis in the U.S. and Canada,” Law & Society Association 2010 Annual Meeting, Chicago, May 28, 2010.
- Speaker, “Duane Morris’ Developments in Workplace Law & Practice 2010,” Washington, D.C., May 11, 2010.
- Speaker, “Goin’ to the Crossroads of Immigration and Criminal Law: Convictions, Removability and Relief,” American Immigration Lawyers Association 2009 Fall Topics CLE Conference, Boston, Massachusetts, December 14, 2009.
- Speaker, “The New Form I-9,” Business 21 Publishing webinar, July 21, 2009.
- Panelist, “District Court Challenges to Unlawful Agency Action: the APA, Declaratory Actions, Habeas, and Mandamus”; “The Material Support Bar to Asylum and Adjustment,” American Immigration Lawyers Association Annual Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, June 3-6, 2009.
- Speaker, “Removal for Experts: The Changing Definition of Crimes of Moral Turpitude,” Immigration Lawyers Weekly (ILW.com) Teleconference, March 19, 2009.
- Speaker, “Motions Practice; The New Era of Litigation Practice” and “Mock Cross-Examinations: Taking it to the Mat,” American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), 2008 Fall Topics CLE Conference, New Orleans, December 11, 2008.
- Speaker, “Defending Your Client in Immigration Proceedings: Defending Against Security Grounds of Removal,” 2008 Annual Conference, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIP/NLG), Detroit, October 15, 2008
- Moderator, “The Sleeping Giant: The Material Support to Terrorism Bar to Admissibility – Who’s Covered, Who’s Not, and What to Do About It,” American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Education Dept. Podcast, October 2008.
- Faculty Member, American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF) 2008 Litigation Institute, Chevy Chase, Maryland, September 12-14, 2008.
- Speaker, “What Every Lawyer Should Know About Immigration Law: Implications of Criminal Convictions,” District of Columbia Bar Association, CLE Program, Washington, D.C., May 27, 2008
- Panelist, “Barriers to International Scholarship,” 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), Pittsburgh, May 8, 2008.
- Moderator, “Hitting a Homerun: How to Litigate Security Check Issues, Mandamus and 1447(b) actions in Federal Court,” 2008 American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) DC Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., March 6, 2008.
- Panelist, “International Scholars and National Borders,” 2008 Conference of the American Historical Association (AHA), Washington, D.C., January 3, 2008.
- Speaker, “Protecting Immigrant Rights: Understanding Policies Affecting Our Community,” Fourth National Conference of the Network of Arab-American Professionals, New York, November 18, 2007.
- Speaker, “Challenging Documentary Evidence in Applications for Relief,” 2007 Annual Conference, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIP/NLG), Washington, D.C., October 31, 2007.
- Faculty Member, American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF) 2007 Litigation Institute, Louisville, Colorado, July 27-29, 2007.
- Speaker, “What Every Lawyer Should Know About Immigration Law: Implications of Criminal Convictions,” District of Columbia Bar Association, CLE Program, Washington, D.C., May 29, 2007.
- Clark Hill receives 2017 Tier 1 Ranking for Immigration Law in Washington, DC by US News and World Report.
Morris v. Virginia, No. 10-1498 (filed June 10, 2011), cert. denied, Oct 2, 2011.
Issues presented: Whether Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010), is retroactively applicable to ineffective assistance of counsel claims raised in collateral review.
Whether Virginia fails to provide the constitutionally required adequate post-conviction remedy where, through a combination of strict time limits on collateral review and in-custody requirements, Petitioner and others similarly situated are precluded from vindicating violations of the right to effective assistance of counsel under Padilla.
Selected by SCOTUSblog as “Petition of the Day” and as a “Petition We’re Watching.”
Bazuaye v. United States, No. 12-425 (filed Oct. 4, 2012), cert denied, Apr. 1, 2013.
Issues presented: Whether pursuant to the procedures followed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, it may dismiss an appeal as without merit, sua sponte and without any briefing or input from the appellant, which violates the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and Due Process of Law guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution, and is contrary to the procedures followed by other Courts of Appeals, which hold that such a procedure can only be followed in a case where an appellant seeks to perfect the appeal in forma pauperis.
Whether the Second Circuit’s procedure in this regard, set forth in its opinion inPillay v. INS, 45 F.3d 14, 17 (2d Cir. 1995), conflicts with the procedures outlined in decisions in other Circuits, collected in Stafford v. United States, 208 F.3d 1177, 1179 n.4 (10th Cir. 2000), holding that sua sponte dismissal is inappropriate where the Appellant is represented by private counsel.
Whether the claim that prior appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise a 17 day exclusion from speedy trial time claim on direct appeal, which would have resulted in a reversal, is not frivolous.
Whether a motion for rehearing may be referred to an entirely different panel.
Matter of Y-K- (Arlington, VA Imm. Ct. 2012) – cancellation of removal under INA §240A(a) granted, removal proceedings terminated. Prior to merits hearing, convinced court to conduct bond hearing and release client from mandatory detention under INA §236(c), successfully arguing that 58 days was overly lengthy period of pre-hearing custody.
Matter of D-P- (Arlington, VA Imm. Ct. 2012) – cancellation of removal under INA §240A(a) granted, removal proceedings terminated. Client granted relief despite series of criminal offenses over 3-year period.
Matter of R-G- (Arlington, VA Imm. Ct. 2012) – removal proceedings terminated; successfully argued that client’s Virginia conviction for assault and battery neither a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) nor a domestic violence offense.
Matter of K-P- (New York NY Imm. Ct. 2010) – asylum granted to Nepali teacher based on well-founded fear of persecution by Maoist rebels.
Matter of I-S- (Arlington, VA Imm. Ct. 2009) – employment-based adjustment of status granted under portability provision of INA § 204(j) for self-employed Russian entrepreneur in “same or similar” occupational classification.
Matter of A-B- (Chicago, IL Imm. Ct. 2009) – removal proceedings terminated; successfully argued that client not subject to reinstatement of removal for unlawful reentry following entry of expedited removal order under INA § 235.
Matter of T-B- (Arlington, VA Imm. Ct. 2008) – adjustment of status granted, removal proceedings terminated; successfully argued that client failed to maintain lawful R-1 nonimmigrant status through “no fault of his own” under INA § 245(k).
Matter of A-K- (Arlington, VA Imm. Ct. 2007) (with Michael Maggio) – asylum granted to Russian businessman based on well-founded fear of persecution on account of political opinion and membership in particular social group.
Matter of M-S- (Baltimore, MD Imm. Ct. 2007) – deferral of removal under Convention Against Torture granted to Iranian student convicted of controlled substance offense.
Matter of A-D- (Arlington, VA Imm. Ct. 2006) (with Thomas Elliot) – waiver under INA § 209(c) and readjustment of status granted to Pakistani student convicted of aggravated felony offense.
Morones Munoz v. USCIS, No. 14-cv-1838 (M.D. Fla. Filed Nov. 12, 2014) – Petition for Review of Denial of Naturalization Application under INA §1421(c), challenging as legally erroneous USCIS decision denying naturalization based on alleged lack of good moral character. In response to lawsuit, USCIS reopened proceedings and granted naturalization. Client sworn in as U.S. citizen.
Poliakova v. Gonzales, et al., No. 08-cv-20143 (S.D. Fla. May 5, 2008), appeal filed, No. 08-13313 (11th Cir.) – Mandamus action challenging unreasonable delay in adjudicating I-485 application for adjustment of status. Case successfully resolved for client while pending before U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit when USCIS granted long-delayed I-485 and issued green card.
Matter of P-M- (Arlington, VA Imm. Ct. 2012) – removal proceedings terminated; successfully argued that client’s Virginia conviction for attempted sexual battery not a crime involving moral turpitude.
Matter of L-M- & S-S- (Arlington, VA Imm. Ct. 2012) – removal proceedings terminated. Overcame DHS charge of fraudulent asylum claim, and thus invalid lawful permanent resident status, because government failed to prove deportability by clear, unequivocal, and convincing evidence.
United States v. Mott Thoroughbred Stables, Inc., OCAHO Case No. 14A00004 (OCAHO Sept. 26, 2014) – successfully challenged ICE employer sanction complaint and imposition of fine for I-9 violations; OCAHO judge reduced fine by over 50%.
Trinity Health-Michigan v. Chertoff, et al., No. 07-cv-2020-PLF (D.D.C. Dec. 26, 2007) – Mandamus complaint and Motion for Preliminary Injunction to compel USCIS to adjudicate delayed H-1B application for nonimmigrant worker under Premium Processing Program. H-1B visa issued to client, a prominent orthopedic surgeon, 13 days after filing of lawsuit.
Sanchez v. Holder, No. 15-1140 (4th Cir. filed Feb. 10, 2015) – Petition for review of Board of Immigration Appeals decision denying asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture to Honduran national who alleges persecution on account of membership in a particular social group.
Graitson v. Caterisano, et al., No. 09-cv-850 (D. Md. July 7, 2009) – Petition for Review of Application for Naturalization under 8 U.S.C. 1447(b). Case succeeded in forcing USCIS to adjudicate long-delayed N-400 naturalization application. N-400 approved, client sworn in as U.S. citizen.
Escalona Amador, et al. v. Meeker, et al., No. 11-cv-1977-JDW-AEP (M.D. Fla. Sept. 28, 2011) – APA complaint and Motion for Preliminary Injunction challenging denial of adjustment of status under Diversity Visa program. Convinced district court to assume jurisdiction over case despite jurisdiction-stripping provisions of 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(B).
Cherepanov v. U.S. Department of State, No. 11-cv-1394-CKK (D.D.C. Sept. 4, 2011) – Complaint under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain documents unreasonably withheld by the Department of State. Case successfully settled on behalf of client.
Iduma v. United States, No. 13-cv-2995 (D. Md. filed Oct. 10, 2013) – Petition for Writ of Error Coram Nobis seeking to reopen criminal proceedings and vacate past conviction owing to ineffective assistance of counsel and fundamental errors that rendered defendant’s guilty plea not knowing, intentional, and voluntary.
Matter of Abdul Hamid (BIA 2014; Atlanta, GA Imm. Ct. 2014) – successfully challenged IJ finding that respondent barred from adjustment of status under INA §212(a)(3)(B) owing to material support for terrorist activities. Client granted permanent resident status, removal proceedings terminated.
Independent Hospitalist Physicians PLLC v. Rodriguez, No. 14-cv-1978 (D.D.C. Dec. 7, 2014) – APA complaint and Motion for Preliminary Injunction challenging denial of H-1B visa for foreign physician who was granted a 212(e) waiver to work in medically underserved area. Two weeks after filing lawsuit, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reopened case, reversed its prior decision, and granted H-1B visa.
Sidik v. Rodriguez, No. 15-cv-432 (D.D.C. filed Mar. 25, 2015) – mandamus action challenging unreasonable delay in adjudicating application for asylee adjustment of status. Case succeeded in compelling USCIS to schedule new interview, approve I-485 application, and grant client lawful permanent residence.
Pearson v. Rodriguez, No. 15-cv-617 (D.D.C. filed Apr. 23, 2015) – APA complaint challenging denial by USCIS under the Adam Walsh Act of U.S. citizen’s I-130 petition for alien relative filed on behalf of his foreign national spouse.
Waheed v. Holder, No. 11-1095 (4th Cir.) (argued Sept. 21, 2011) – Whether noncitizen’s Maryland conviction for simple misdemeanor assault qualifies as a “crime involving moral turpitude” under Step Three of Matter of Silva-Trevino, 24 I&N Dec. 687 (A.G. 2008). Companion case to Prudencio v. Holder, 669F.3d 472 (4th Cir. 2012) (rejecting Silva-Trevino as not entitled to Chevron deference because statutory language “convicted of crime involving moral turpitude” is plain and unambiguous). Succeeded in obtaining client’s release from ICE custody, vacating removal order, and reinstating client’s lawful permanent resident status.
Mohammad v. Napolitano, et al., No. 09-cv-1783-EGS (D.D.C. May 17, 2010)– APA complaint challenging revocation of EB-1 Outstanding Professor/Researcher immigrant visa. Subsequent to litigation, client’s EB-1 immigrant visa (green card) successfully reinstated.
Adam v. Mayorkas, et al., No. 10-cv-1691 (D.D.C. Mar. 5, 2011) – mandamus action challenging unreasonable delay in adjudicating application for asylee adjustment of status, due to case being placed on hold under INA § 212(a)(3)(B) due to alleged “material support for terrorism.” Case succeeded in forcing USCIS to remove hold, grant I-485, and issue green card to client.
Kiaran McLaughlin Racing Stable, Inc., et al. v. Napolitano, No. 11-cv-4892 (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 1, 2011) – APA complaint and Motion for Preliminary Injunction challenging denial of H-2B temporary worker petitions for thoroughbred horse racing stable attendants. Case successfully settled on behalf of clients.
Abusamhadaneh v. Taylor, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78195 (E.D. Va. June 5, 2012) (with Denyse Sabagh) – Held: On Petition for Review of Denial of Naturalization Application under 8 U.S.C. §1421(c), District Court ruled that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) erred in denying applicant’s N-400 Application for Naturalization. In 90-page opinion, District Court reversed the agency and granted naturalization, holding that witnesses, and unsustainable because agency officials lacked credibility and failed to follow agency’s own guidance. District Court administered oath ceremony to swear in client as a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Udugampola et al. v. Jacobs, et al., No. 09-cv-01321-BAH (D.D.C. July 8, 2011), appeal filed, No. 11-5215 (D.C. Cir.) – Mandamus action and APA complaint challenging consular immigrant visa denial. Case successfully settled on behalf of clients, appeal before U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit voluntarily dismissed.
Darnbrough v. U.S. Department of State, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22872 (D.D.C. Feb. 20, 2013) – Complaint under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain documents unreasonably withheld by the Department of State, challenging government’s assertion of exemption under INA §222(f). Held: FOIA exemption cited by Department of State does not cover all documents contained in consular database, government ordered to produce requested documents to Plaintiff. As a prevailing party, Plaintiff recovered attorney fees for cost of litigation.
Mott Thoroughbred Stables v. Rodriguez (D.D.C. filed Mar. 6, 2015; dismissed June 22, 2015) – APA complaint and Motion for Preliminary Injunction challenging USCIS denial of O-1B extraordinary ability visa to acclaimed thoroughbred horse trainer.
United States v. Lopez-Collazo, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61613 (May 11, 2015)(counsel for defendant: Deborah Boardman, Office of Federal Public Defender) – appeared and testified as expert witness on immigration matters in illegal reentry prosecution under 8 U.S.C. 1326. U.S. District Judge agreed that defendant was prejudiced by government errors in underlying expedited removal proceedings and dismissed illegal reentry charge.
Shrestha v. Holder, No. 10-73627 (9th Cir. Oct. 21, 2011) (with Maxine Bayley) – Court ordered case remanded to Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to provide client an opportunity to challenge prior asylum denial on the merits and for entry of a new decision. BIA had erroneously dismissed client’s appeal as untimely, incorrectly holding that it lacked jurisdiction to review late-filed appeal. Successful challenge to Matter of Liadov, 23 I&N Dec. 990 (BIA 2006).
Soliman v. Gonzales, 419 F.3d 296 (4th Cir. 2005) (with Thomas A. Elliot) – Held: Noncitizen’s Virginia conviction for credit card fraud did not qualify as aggravated felony “theft offense” under INA § 101(a)(43)(G). Succeeded in obtaining client’s release from ICE custody, vacating removal order, and reinstating client’s lawful permanent resident status.
Malilia v. Holder, 632 F.3d 598 (9th Cir. 2011) – Held: Immigration Judge abused his discretion by denying noncitizen’s request for a continuance based on pending I-130 visa petition filed by his U.S. citizen wife. Remanded to Immigration Court to allow client to apply for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident, based on approved I-130 petition and despite federal firearms conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 922(e).
Akinsade v. Holder, 678F.3d138 (2nd Cir. 2012) – Held: Noncitizen’s conviction for embezzlement by bank employee in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 656 does not qualify as an aggravated felony “offense involving fraud or deceit” under INA § 101(a)(43)(M)(i). Order of removal vacated, removal proceedings terminated.
United States v. Akinsade, No. 686 F.3d 248 (4th Cir. 2012) – Held: District Court denial of writ of error coram nobis reversed, Appellant granted coram nobis relief and conviction vacated. Successfully challenged district court’s ruling that a trail court’s general warning during Rule 11 plea hearing concerning potential immigration consequences was sufficient to cure the prejudice caused by attorney’s affirmative misadvice under “prong two” of the test articulated in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 688 (1984).
Udugampola v. Jacobs, No. 14-5286 (D.C. Cir. filed Dec. 22, 2014; dismissed Aug.18, 2015) – Appeal of district court decision dismissing complaint under doctrine of consular nonreviewability. Underlying challenge to denial of immigrant visa petition by U.S. Consulate under INA §212(a)(3)(E)(iii)(II) for alleged participation in extrajudicial killings. Dismissed following Supreme Court opinion in Kerry v. Din, 135 S. Ct. 2128 (2015).
Salama v. Holder, No. 10-1460 (4th Cir. Dec. 15, 2010) (with Anjum Gupta) – Applicants sought asylum from Egypt after being targeted for their religious beliefs. Following briefing in Court of Appeals, the Department of Justice moved to remand case because neither BIA nor Immigration Judge considered lead applicant’s religious conversion claim. BIA remanded to Immigration Court for further proceedings and Immigration Judge ultimately granted asylum to entire family.
Matter of P-M- (BIA 2011) – DHS appeal dismissed; successfully argued that client’s Virginia conviction for attempted sexual battery not an aggravated felony under categorical approach.
Last October, Thomas Ragland and Patrick Taurel filed a mandamus complaint in US District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of a client, asking the court to compel U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to adjudicate the client’s Form I-526 EB-5 immigrant investor petition without further delay. The petition had been pending for over 25 months at that point, without explanation. In response to the lawsuit, the client received a surprise site visit by officers from the USCIS Beijing office, who requested that he produce extensive financial and other documentation within 3 days’ time. Thomas and Patrick worked out an agreement with the Assistant U.S. Attorney who was assigned to the case for additional time to respond to the Request for Evidence (RFE) in exchange for consent to an extension of the government’s response deadline. The client timely filed an extensive response to the RFE. In response, USCIS issued a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) and gave the client 33 days to respond. The client filed a timely NOID response, and the AUSA then requested another 60 days for the agency to make a decision. Thomas and Patrick objected, and the court agreed and granted only a 30-day extension. Finally, two days before the government’s deadline to respond to the mandamus complaint, the AUSA contacted Thomas and Patrick with the happy news that USCIS has approved the client’s I-526 petition. A successful outcome to the litigation and a very happy client.
Following a denial of a request for an H-2A farm labor visa application, and denial of an administrative appeal, Maria Dwyer, Thomas Ragland and Patrick Taurel initiated a federal lawsuit seeking to enjoin the Department of Labor (DOL) from refusing to acknowledge the different farming operations of two large farming client companies. The two companies have nearly 100 acres of greenhouse crops which faced devastation without the benefit of the foreign farm labor program. The DOL took the position that because the two companies shared one parent, they were not separate companies (even though the companies submitted evidence supporting their distinct operations) and their combined hot house growing operations disqualified them from the program because they were not “seasonal.” After several months of litigation, the DOL agreed to a settlement which includes separate H-2A certifications for each company, time to align the growing seasons, allows for a 10 month growing season for each entity, and more workers than originally requested. Most importantly, the DOL will hand-hold the clients’ filings through 2018 to ensure compliance with the agreement.
In 2000, N.M. and her family, permanent residents of the United States, were victims of a terrifying human trafficking scheme in India, in which N.M.’s children were held hostage at gunpoint for three days while N.M. and her husband were forced to bring three teenagers to the U.S. and to pass them off as their own children. Many years later, through a combination of poor counsel and miscommunication with U.S. immigration authorities, N.M. was forced to surrender her permanent residence, and was subject to a 20-year bar from returning to the United States.
Today, N.M.’s son is a physician and a U.S. citizen. N.M. requires a lung transplant that she cannot obtain in India. Jennifer Cook, Lindsey Medina, and Thomas Ragland successfully argued that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security should approve N.M.’s application for Humanitarian Parole, which permits otherwise “inadmissible” foreign nationals to enter the U.S. for compelling humanitarian reasons. Last week, shortly after obtaining this very difficult to receive approval, N.M. flew to the U.S. and is currently preparing for her lung transplant surgery and recovery under the care of her son and extended family.