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The role of the Assistant Chief Counsel

The Assistant Chief Counsel (“ACC”) is the attorney who represents the interests of the US government in removal proceedings. The correct role of the ACC is not to act as prosecutor but to see that the law is correctly applied and that relief from removal is given only to those who deserve relief. I have had the pleasure of working with many great ACCs during my years of practice, including current Immigration Judge James Grim, and ACCs John Seaman, Manuel Ramirez, Richard Jamadar, Ann Holbrooke, Yon Alberdi and Mark Martinez, to name but a few.

Why then, do some ACCs see their job as incomplete unless someone is deported? Some ACCs seem to view their job as prosecutor for the government. They will concede no relief to any applicant, even if the evidence is clear and the Immigration Judge indicates he will rule for the alien.

An ACC recently appealed a decision of the IJ in one of my cases, where my clients were appealing for relief based on extreme hardship. The wife of the family already has a green card, so if the husband and kids get green cards, the US gains a legal, tax paying family, and the US is not harmed because my clients are not law breakers or bad people. The ACC appealed the IJs ruling of relief in the case, saying that he misapplied the “extreme hardship” standard.

The practical effect of the appeal was that my clients had to hire me, again, to handle the appeal for them, but what does the ACC win if he wins his appeal? He wins a family torn apart, where the mother must remain in the US without her husband and kids, if she wishes to become a US citizen so that she can petition for them to return. He wins the return of the husband and kids to the hellhole they left at great risk 10 years ago to come to the US. He wins nothing.

I am sure the ACC in that case can assure himself that he bears no grudge against the alien, and he would tell me that he is just doing his job, and trying to make sure the law is properly applied. And I would say, “it may be legal, but that doesn’t make it right.”

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