Louis v. Attorney General United States

Louis, a citizen of Haiti, entered the U.S illegally. He later applied for asylum. While that application was pending, he married a U.S. citizen and sought citizenship on that basis. Louis received a notice, dated August 2016, that he had to appear for an asylum hearing in June 2017; it stated that the immigration judge could hold the hearing and remove Louis if he did not attend. Louis, who does not speak English, consulted Thermitus, who is not a lawyer. Louis thought Thermitus was a lawyer. Thermitus did not hold himself out as a lawyer but as “an immigration expert that performed other work as well.” Thermitus stated Louis did not have to go to the hearing because he had another path to citizenship: marriage. Louis did not attend the hearing, which was held without him. Because he had conceded that he had entered the country illegally, the judge ordered him removed. Louis hired a real lawyer and unsuccessfully moved to reopen his case. The BIA affirmed because no “exceptional circumstances” had prevented Louis from attending his hearing. The Third Circuit denied a petition for review. Exceptional circumstances must be grave and beyond the applicant’s control. Holding the hearing without Louis did not violate due process because he had the opportunity to attend and chose not to. View "Louis v. Attorney General United States" on Justia Law