By: Arnulfo Hernández and Christine Hernández
HERNÁNDEZ & ASSOCIATES
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is implementing numerous strategies, under the color of law, that have devastating effects on the due process rights of one of our most vulnerable immigrant populations — asylum seekers.
As head of the Department of Justice, Sessions has direct control over the Executive Office for Immigration Review — the office that oversees all of the immigration courts. Respondents in removal proceedings before the EOIR are ensured certain rights.
Respondents “shall” have a reasonable opportunity 1) to examine the evidence against the alien, 2) to present evidence on the alien’s own behalf, and 3) to cross-examine witnesses presented by the government. The rights codified under 8 CFR § 1240.11(c)(3) (2013) in the context of asylum and explicitly provide that when an asylum application has been filed with EOIR, the application will be decided after an evidentiary hearing to resolve factual issues in dispute.
During such evidentiary hearings, the asylum seeker shall be examined under oath regarding his/her application and may present evidence and witnesses on his or her own behalf. An immigration law judge should determine whether the testimony presented is credible, weighs the credibility of the testimony along with other evidence of record and applies the law before deciding whether an individual qualifies for relief in the form of asylum.