MORGANTOWN – Two students from the West Virginia University College of Law were arguing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago on Sept. 24.

Third-year law students Kirk Auvil and Phillip Wachowiak are representing a Honduran national in Rufino Antonio Estrada-Martinez v. Loretta E. Lynch, Attorney General of the United States of America.

Estrado-Martinez is a client of the WVU Immigration Law Clinic.

The clinic is appealing a U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision that reversed a ruling by an immigration judge to grant Estrada-Martinez withholding of removal. In immigration law, withholding of removal protects individuals from being deported to a country where they risk persecution.

In reversing the immigration judge’s earlier decision, the BIA determined that Estrada-Martinez was convicted of a serious crime in Honduras.

“We argue that the BIA applied the incorrect legal standard when it made its determination about Mr. Estrada-Martinez,” said Michael Blumenthal, visiting professor of law and co-director of the Immigration Law Clinic.

The clinic has been working on this case for about a year, according to Blumenthal.




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