Immigration Lawyers Don't Always Win Their Cases: A List of 374 Losers

By David North on February 3, 2010

While some restrictionists may think that immigration lawyers always win their cases, this is not so.

The highest immigration judicial authority in the land, the Executive Office of Immigration Review, an arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, publishes a little list, available to all, of 374 immigration lawyers (at the time of this writing) who have been disciplined by EOIR.

The 374 have either been expelled from the immigration courts, or had their right to practice suspended. Only three of the 374 are noted on the list as having been reinstated.

It isn't that the EOIR is actively chasing misbehaving lawyers in its own courts – though there probably is some of that – it's that EOIR is paying attention to lawyers who have been found wanting by other courts, state and federal, and then throwing them out of immigration courts.

The alphabetical list of the 374 shows actions taken against them over a period of ten years.

EOIR announces from time to time its most recent disciplinary actions; the latest press release tells of two immediate suspensions of immigration lawyers and six final orders of discipline.

My favorite of the six is Lilian Asante, an Ohio attorney; she has been expelled from the immigration courts. She is not accused, as many of the 374 are, of aiding and abetting a fraudulent marriage, but of participating in one and encouraging her real husband to do the same thing. She pled guilty to the charge in federal court.

Mrs. Asante and her real spouse, Kwadwo Asante, according to documents in the U.S. District Court for Southern Ohio, are from Ghana and married each other on June 5, 1999, in that country. (If you subscribe to PACER, the U.S. courts' electronic data system, you can see the complaint here.)

In 2002 they came to Ohio as nonimmigrant students; she to attend the Ohio State Law School, and he to get an MBA at Western Reserve. In May of 2004 their marriage was dissolved in Ghana. In 2005 he married Jonella McWilson, and the next year she married Randy Weight. Both new spouses are U.S. citizens, and both filed papers to secure green cards for their spouses.

I don't know much about the protocols of fraudulent marriages, but according to the complaint Lilian was present when Kwadwo married his citizen, and he was there when Lilian married her citizen. Maybe that's standard procedure if the citizen is a witting participant in the fraud, an element that the ICE investigator writing the complaint did not explore. My own check of PACER indicates that only Mrs. Asante, of the foursome, has been charged with marriage fraud.

Meanwhile Mrs. Asante was admitted to the bar, specialized in immigration law, lived with her real husband, and had a U.S. citizen baby in 2008.

The federal judge, working with a plea agreement, gave her a light sentence, two years of probation. The court documents instruct her to cooperate with ICE should that agency decide to deport her, but there is no indication in those documents that ICE will. The two-year-old citizen child may complicate matters for ICE.