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Atlanta Immigration Lawyer > Blog > Family Immigration > Explaining the Matter of Lozada in the U.S. Immigration System

Explaining the Matter of Lozada in the U.S. Immigration System


When people use lawyers, they do so because they don’t understand the law and want a professional to help them with their case so they have the best chance to get the desired outcome. Unfortunately, not all attorneys are equal. Meaning that some attorneys are better suited to their roles, maybe are more ethical, or have better instincts to serve their clients than other attorneys. As a result, when an attorney gives bad advice to their client or is not doing their job in a timely manner, and time matters when it comes to making moves in the legal system, a client can suffer.

In 1988, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) presided over the Matter of Lozada. Essentially, the outcome of this case was that in order for immigration clients to have an attorney help them reopen a previously closed case after subpar legal representation, a formal bar complaint must be filed.

The interesting thing is, that no other type of legal professional outside of immigration attorneys has this additional, burdensome step to take. Other legal professionals, when looking into a case where their client had previous, ineffective and negligent legal counsel, don’t have to file a complaint.

The good news is that there are prominent organizations that oppose the rules under the Matter of Lozada. In fact, the American Immigration Lawyers Association Ethics Committee has been pushing the U.S. government to eliminate this formal complaint requirement.

There are several very serious problems and issues with the Matter of Lozada requirement. For example, when it comes to following the rules and regulations within the legal system in the United States, getting things going and filing critical paperwork on time can be the difference between winning a case and being thrown out or having an unfair decision made. Now, if an immigration lawyer representing their client fails to file their case’s paperwork properly and on time, or gives bad advice, then it is likely that their client will not get the results that they wished for.

Likewise, the immigration rules are always changing. Even if an attorney does the right thing by their client, if there are changes in laws retroactively then an immigration client would be unable to address these shortcomings in their case without their attorney filing a formal complaint.

Additionally, it is not uncommon for lawyers to be reluctant to file any formal bar complaint if there is no authentic ethics violation made by another of their colleagues. Not only is filing such a complaint and triggering the state discipline system a big deal, but doing so is a time-intensive and expensive process.

As you can see, this extra step of filing a complaint to have a previous case that was mishandled or had deficiencies reopened makes it incredibly difficult for a non-citizen to experience true justice in the system. This is very troublesome, especially for individuals whose cases were affected due to retroactive law changes that are out of their control.

Speak with an Atlanta Immigration Attorney Today

The Lozada requirement seems unfair, and many immigration attorneys would argue it is. However, the AILA Ethics Committee is on this issue and connecting with the appropriate government officials to motivate them to make the necessary changes so the system is fair to non-citizens.

For a consultation to discuss your needs and case, please call Shirazi Immigration Law, Inc. today at 404-523-3611. One of our Atlanta immigration lawyers is here for you and ready to help.



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