Last fall, our attorneys had the exciting opportunity to organize the Material Support / Persecutor Panel of the 2015 New York City Asylum Law Conference, held at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
The Material Support / Persecutor Panelists included Usman B. Ahmad, Esq. and Venus S. Bermudez, Esq.. We invited and were joined by highly esteemed fellow colleagues (appearing in their personal capacities): Professor Lauris Wren of Hofstra University, who discussed the statutory definitions of the Persecutor and Material Support Bars; Arwen Hughes, Esq. of Human Rights First, who described how Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III Terrorist Organization designations are defined, and recent troubling trends regarding Material Support and Tier III allegations; Marc Pachon, Esq. of the Immigration Division at DHS Office of the General Counsel, who described existing exemptions to the Terrorism Related Grounds of Inadmissibility (TRIG) and its application; and Allison Hollenbeck, Esq. of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, who described the Immigration Court’s role, and the challenges it faces, in making Tier III Ad Hoc determinations and Material Support findings.
Our attorneys presented a case study designed to illustrate strategies to combat TRIG allegations against asylum applicants. In our case study, we used the example of a Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) member who DHS argued was inadmissible and statutorily barred from Asylum for having “Engaged in Terrorist Activity” due to having provided “Material Support” to a “Tier III Terrorist Organization”. This means that DHS accused the BNP of being a “Tier III Terrorist organization”, a label for an organization, although not formally designated by the government as a terrorist organization, to have engaged in terrorist activity. This also means that DHS accused our client of engaging in terrorist activity by being a member of and supporting the BNP.
Using redacted materials and a fictional name to protect our client’s identity, we demonstrated the steps our attorneys and legal professionals take to challenge TRIG allegations made by DHS. We provided fellow practitioners with tips on how to carefully analyze evidence submitted by DHS for misleading, biased or unverified information, and shared legal arguments to challenge TRIG misapplications. We also shared redacted decisions from Immigration Court judges in which we successfully defeated DHS’s TRIG allegations.
We are excited to begin planning the Law Office of Usman B. Ahmad’s contribution to the upcoming 2016 New York City Asylum Law Conference. Subscribe to our blog to receive updates.
To read more about the 2015 New York City Asylum Law Conference, click here.
To access our Material Support / Persecutor Panel’s Conference Materials, click here.