Wilkinson Stekloff Wins Landmark Immigration Appeal

Washington, D.C. — Wilkinson Stekloff associates Chanakya Sethi and Alison Zoschak have secured a major pro bono win in the Ninth Circuit, convincing the court that non-citizens facing reinstatement of prior deportation orders have a right to counsel in their removal proceedings. Chan was appointed to represent Walter Orozco-Lopez as a member of the Ninth Circuit’s pro bono panel and argued the case in April 2021. The precedential decision could affect thousands of individuals in the Ninth Circuit each year. The federal government has for the last decade deported upwards of 100,000 people annually under an expedited procedure that allows for reinstatement of earlier deportation orders. Unlike non-citizens in ordinary removal proceedings, these individuals have been denied the right to an attorney when they have challenged their deportation on the grounds that they fear return to their native countries. Chan and Alison argued that the Immigration and Nationality Act codifies …