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Assistance of Counsel in Removal Proceedings (I)

Date of Issuance:

The Constitution does not confer a constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel in removal proceedings, because the alien has no constitutional right to counsel, including government-appointed counsel, in the first place.

Although the Constitution does not entitle an alien to relief for his lawyer’s mistakes, the Department may, in its discretion, allow an alien to reopen removal proceedings based on the deficient performance of his lawyer.

In extraordinary cases, where a lawyer’s deficient performance likely changed the outcome of an alien’s removal proceedings, the Board may reopen removal proceedings notwithstanding the absence of a constitutional right to such relief.

Updated February 1, 2021