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Patricia O'Connell
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Wiley Rein Files Amicus Brief in ‘Proof of Citizenship’ Immigration Case

October 3, 2017

Washington, DC—Wiley Rein LLP filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on behalf of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) and Asian-Americans Advancing Justice/The Asian-American Justice Center (AAJC) in Candela-Rios v. Sessions, an important immigration case. The brief sets forth significant policy reasons supporting the reversal of a lower court decision in which the district judge improperly shifted the burden of proof with respect to an individual's status as a natural-born U.S. citizen from the government to the citizen. In its ruling, the court stated it was obligated to "resolve all doubts in favor of the United States and against those seeking to establish citizenship."

The Wiley Rein brief argues that it is the government, not the individual, which is obligated in such cases to disprove citizenship and demonstrate alienage subject to a heightened "clear, unequivocal and convincing evidence" standard. The brief further argues that because of the significant extent to which U.S. citizens are already subjected, erroneously, to immigration proceedings by the government, allowing this shifting of the burden of proof to take place enhances the likelihood that citizens will be incorrectly deported and left, in many instances, stateless as a result.

The brief, filed September 22, was authored by Wiley Rein Pro bono Partner Theodore A. Howard, of counsel P. Nicholas Peterson, and associates Usha Neelakantan, Madeline J. Cohen, John T. Lin, and staff attorney Luke J. Karayalil.

Wiley Rein prides itself on a strong and rich tradition of service to the local and global community, and encourages its lawyers to participate in pro bono activities. For the past two years, Wiley Rein has been named to Washington Business Journal’s Corporate Philanthropy list for its contributions to charitable organizations on both a local and national level.