As part of our efforts to amplify the AILA Law Journal, Editor-in-Chief Cyrus Mehta shares some highlights as he describes the key topics from articles published in the newly released Fall 2023 edition of the AILA Law Journal and gives readers a tour of what lies ahead when they open the digital edition. AILA members, access your free digital copy of the Law Journal to read more!

I have been a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) for many years, and was proud to take on the role of editor-in-chief of the AILA Law Journal from the incomparable Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia last year. AILA’s mission calls on the organization to work toward fairer and more just immigration laws and policies and one of the key goals of the AILA Law Journal is to publish articles that can persuade policymakers and courts to change the laws  to positively impact the lives of noncitizens. I am delighted that the Fall 2023 issue provides a rich array of articles that have the potential to move the needle in that direction.

First off, Immigration Judge Mimi Tsankov shares “An Article I Immigration Court: Congress, It’s Time to Jump-Start This Vehicle to Judicial Independence,” in which she forcefully advocates for the creation of an independent Article I Immigration Court. Judge Tsankov, joined by past-AILA President Jeremy McKinney, shared similar views and insights in recent testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Immigration Subcommittee. It is indeed past time for the immigration courts to be removed from the control of the Attorney General and subject to political winds.

We turn then to an important piece by Elaine Wood, “Persecution Taxonomy: Adding Sex and Gender as Protected Grounds for Asylum,” in which the author points out that a barrier to asylum grants in the United States is the systemic gender bias inherent in structures of legal justice. Wood’s article is groundbreaking as it provides an important contribution to asylum jurisprudence through a much needed feminist lens.  Next, Jim Nzonguma Mayua argues that asylum seekers should not be detained once they’ve established a credible fear of persecution in “The Mandatory Detention of Unlawful Entrants Seeking Asylum in the United States and the Due Process Protection.”

Emercio José Aponte and Andrea Paola Aponte’s “The Bolivarian Concept of the Internal Enemy: What Does This Mean for Venezuelan Asylum Seekers?” is, I believe, essential reading for the practitioner who is representing a Venezuelan for asylum in the United States given the recent massive influx of Venezuelans who are fleeing the Maduro regime.. Betsy L. Fisher also offers expert insights in “A Fast Track to Refuge, or a Pathway to Nowhere? Designing Successful Priority 2 Group Designations.” If anyone knows these issues inside and out, it’s Betsy!

Narmada Sapkota writes eloquently in “Unlocking the Power of Experts: How They Can Make or Break Your Asylum Case” about the non-mandatory but often significant role experts  can play in providing in-depth knowledge and evidence to help noncitizens establish their claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT protection. Shifting topics, Patrick Gilsenan writes about how Chevron deference seems to have morphed over the years in “Chevron Defiance: Adapting Shifting Norms in Administrative Law to Immigration Enforcement.”  This article is significant as the Supreme Court considers to overrule or  limit Chevron deference in Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce and Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo next year. And finally, in “No Fault/Technical Reasons: A Postmortem on Flawed Rulemaking and Its Effect on Nonimmigrant Status Breaches,” Martin Robles-Avila suggests, among other things, that USCIS update its policy manual to indicate that the regulations are not all-inclusive and that applicants can introduce additional factors including ineffective assistance of counsel in demonstrating that they were not at fault for failure to maintain status.

I encourage all AILA members to download and peruse their free digital copy of the law journal today, and to reach out if they have ideas for future pieces, either by them or others. The law journal is a communal effort, to benefit the practice of immigration law. Let’s get to it!