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\. ro C:'' ' r: U.S. Depa rtment of Justice

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E<ecutive Office for Immigration Review

APR 0 I Ui6

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.5107 /.,.e,flH1rw /J1tr ~tute 1600

FoflJ CluuvJI, Vl11:111tif 111).//

March 28. 2016

Michael M. Hellunon
Senior Counsel
Immigration Refom Low Institute
25 Massachusells A\<euue. N \V
Suite 335
Washington, DC 2000 I

Ro: 1>2016-0001

Dear Mr. Hethmon:

Enclosed please find a copy of the action taken by this office as a result of
your complaint concerning ~lauer ofJ~'i and Matter o/Cris101a/ Si/w1-Trevino.

I hope this adequately explains the decision in this mailer. Thank you for
bringing this matter 10 my attcnt ion.



U.S. Department or Justice

Eccuth-c Office for Immigration Review

Offit of tlrt Gt nerol Co1mstl

5107 l..l'rthfl~ PJt.t, ~ul.f 16(N>

Full' OwrrA. \'~ 21CUI

March 28, 2016

Mr. Christ<1pher Strawn
Nonhwesr lmrnigrant Rights l'mjeet
615 Stoond A venue
Seaulo, Washington 118014

RE: 02016-0001

Dear Mr. Stmwn:

This leuer is to inform you that the Disciplinary Counsel for the !;xecutive Office for
lnuniwation Review (EOIR) bas received a complaint from the Immigration Refonn Law
Institute and the Federation for American Immigration Refonn (FAIR). The complaint
the conduct of the following immigration practitioners involved in Mauer ofJ~<:. und lvfu//er (!(
CristOWJI Si/va-1'revit0: Christopher Strawn. Mau Adams, Eunice Hyunhye Cho, nod Elisabeth
Brodyaga. 1

Maller of J..S-

On August 28. 2014, the fl-Oard of Immigration Appeals (Board) requested omicus curiae
briefs from FAIR and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in ./~<;-. The
Board specifically asked FAIR and AILA to address two questionN. FAIR submiued an amicus
brief on October 20. 20 14.

On November 7, 2014. Mr. Strawn. who represented the respondent in .t~'i', filed a

The COfttplaint also im.plk:a1td Jim Knoitpp. Wlnifm:I K.o. Gait Pendleton. JOS6 Luis P~z and numerow
CMpnintion$ (NOf1hwesl l1nmigranc Ri&hts Projtct, Southern PovIY Law Center. Int ., Asian A'ncricaM
Advancin&Justice - A.s.ian Caucus, ASIS.f'A LatinoJu, lioc PRl,OEF. the Political Asylum Immigrant
Repmtntlllion Project, and the RfUaio ckl Rio Oranck Inc. law OITt<e). Mr K~t>. Ms. Kao. Ms. Ptftdlc1...
and Mr Perez dld not file any documents in lhe underlyina manel'1 IO they h1wi not engaged in any cooducl lhlll
would ul:tject them to discipline under lhe EOIR Rules of Pn.l (essionnl Condlltt. Additioo.all), lhe l!OIR Rule! of
ProfeukMal Conduct do noc regulale lhe conduct of organillliON so the fJfiMlzalions n1med in the compbiint are
no1 lhe proper .111bjecls of d!Kiplino complalnL

motion to strike PAIR's amicus brief. Mr. Strawn argued that FAIR's brief should be struck
because: (I) "(a]ffinnatively soliciting an arnicus brief from FAIR is contrary to (the] spirit of
the cannons [sic] ofjudicial <thics;., and (2) "[s]olicitiog an arnicus brief from a partisan
organization labeled a hate group is unlikely to help with the lepl analysis of [the) case,
particularly since both parties are represented." Mr. Strown's motion acknowledged that FAIR
had a right to request to submit an amicus brief but S1Bted that it was "unseemly" for the Board co
affiunativcly request a brief from PAIR because FAIR hlld been labeled as an "anti-immigrant"
or "bate" group. Soliciting a brief from PAJR allegedly created an appeamnce of impropriety in
suggesting that FAIR, as opposed to other groups, was in a position to inOuence the Board.
Mr. Suawn further claimed that FAIR 's brief was not helpful IO the Board because it did not
address the questions posed and simply challenged prior precedents.

On Novanber 21, 2014, FAIR submined a bricfin opposition to the motion to srrike.
FAIR staled that the sole purpose of the motion to strike was to "denigrate, ostracize, and
effectively disqualify" FAJR as an amicus party in ~1e case and in future cases. f'AIR requested
1ha1 the motion be denied and that the Board consider reprimanding Mr. Strawn for conrumclious
conduct and frivolous behavior.

On November 2. 2015, the Board issued its decision in J-S. The Board acknowledged
the brief submitted by amicus curiae bur did no1 address the motion to strike.

Mauer of CristovI Sitva:rrevino

On April 29, 2015, 1he Board requested mnicus curiae briefs from FAIR and AILA in
Silva-Trevino. The Board asked FAIR and AILA to address three issues raised by the Attorney
General in Molluo/SilWI-Trtvino, 26 l&N Dec. 550 (A.G. 2015). On June 19, 2015, FAIR
submiuod its amicus brief.

Prior to FAIR submitting its brief, Mr. Strawn, Mr. Adams, and Ms. Cho filed a request
to appear as amicus curiae on behalf of Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law
Caucus, ASISTA, the Center for New Community, LalinoJustice PRLDEP, the League of United
Latin American Citiiens, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Political Asylwnllmmigration
Representation Project, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. The request was similar to the
motion to strike filed in J.s. as it argued that the Board should ends it<practice of affirmatively
requesting amicus briefs from FAIR because FAIR Mis a discredited, extremist anti-immigrant
organization espousing white supremacist. eugenicist, antiSemitic, and anti-Catholic views."

On July 9, 2015, FAIR wrote a letter to the Board regarding its concerns with the request
to appear es amicus curiae submitted by Mr. Strawn. Mr. Adams, and Ms. Cho. FAIR asserted
that the request did not address the legal issues raised in Silva-TrB11ino. FAIR described the
request as being "comprised ofMcCorthyitc ad hominem auacks on fArR and seemingly anyone
wbo bas ever been associated with FA JR." FAIR stated: "Whatever heated rhetoric occurs in the
often rough and tumble immigration debate, ii does not belong in BIA filings." FAIR requested
1ha1 the Board deny the request and consider reprimanding Mr. Strawn, Mr. Adams, and
Ms. Cho.
, '

On July 19, 2015, EOIR announced that the Board was launching a one-year pilot
program to solicit auricus curiae briefs in order reach a broader range of the public. On August
4, 2015, the Boan! issued a new solicitation for briefs in Silva-Trevino, seeking inpur from rhe
public on the same issues thar it previously asked FAIR and AILA to brief.

On August 17, 2015, Ms. Brodyagii, who represented the respondenr in Silva-Trevino,
filed a motion to strike FAfR's amicus brief. Ms. Brodyaga's motion to strike explicitly
incorporared the argumenrs made by Mr. Strawn, Mr. Adams, and Ms. Cho in their request to
appear as amicus curiae. The Boan! has 001 issued a decision in Sllva-Tr~vlno or otherwise
responded to the motion to srrike.

Based on \he foregoing infonnation, rhis office is troubled by the conduct of Mr. Stram1,
Mr. Adams. Ms. Cho, and Ms. Brodyaga in J~S- and Si/loo-Trevino. Their conduC1 in seeking to
strike FAIR"s amicus briefs in these cases and 10 discourage the Board from solicitingarnicu~
briefs from FAIR overstepped the bounds of zeolous ad\OCacy and was unprofessional. In their
motions, ~1r. Srrawn, Mr. Adams. Ms. Cho, and Ms. Brodyaga made uncivil comments that
dispal'aged FAIR and its s111t1: Mr. Strnwn, Mr. Adams, Ms. Cho, and Ms. Brodyaaa called
FAfR a "hate group.- "anti-immigrant,- "white supremacist,- "eugenicist," "anti-Semitic," and
~anti-Oltholic." None of this language was related or relevant to the und~'flyiag facrual Of legal
matters or FAIR'S nmicus briefa, and its sole purpose was to denigrate FAIR and its srnff.2 SuJ:h
language is not appropriate in a filing before the Board (or any judicial tribunal) because it
constitutes frh'Olous behavior and does not aid the adminisuation ofjustice.1

The decisions of Mr. Strawn, Mr. Adams. Ms. Cho, and Ms. Brodyoga to engage in
derog11t0ty name-calling e>dtibiled a lack of professionalism that did not advance the resolution
ofJ-S- or Silva-Trevino. While such misconduct is certainly within the jurisdiction of the EOIR
Disciplinary Cou11sel, our office has concluded that the 11pproprlate response is not the initiation
of a fonnal disciplinary proceeding. Instead, we take this opponunity to remind the attorney
practitioners involved in this misconduct that before EOIR should be striving to be
civil and professional in their interactions with each other, the public, and the Board and
Immigration Couns. Attorneys owe a duty of professionalism to their clients, opposing panics
and their counsel, the coUl1S, and the public as a whole. Professionalism includes civility.
professional integrity, personal dignity, candor, diligence, respect, courtesy. cooperation, and
competence. In this regard, auomeys may have a difference of opinion or policy, but they must
not allow those differences to infeel their conduct in carrying out their professional duties. Tho
legal profession caMot operate effectively or with dignity when attorneys lack professionalism.

To the e~cnl that Mr. Strawn. Mr. Adama. M.1. Cho. and Ms. Brodyaga would claim tha11heir purpose "'as 10 end
1he Board's effinn.adve 1olici1ation of an amicus briorrrom FAlR f111d to have the solicitarlon process opened 10 11
greater nun1bcrof interested parties. their filln&S belie such a purpo5c. Mr. Scrawn. Mt. Adams. Ms. Cho. aod
Ms. Btocly1p wgeted FAIR, not lhe30licilltiooproc:w tha1 lll10 inclllded Att.A.
' We funhcr note Iba! 1he decKlon 10 engoie in such oondUCI in lhe amicus curi.. context wos misguided. Amlcus
curiae arc generally aupposod to usist the coun with the legal matter before it, Mr. Strawn, Mr. Ad1uns, and
Ms. Cho's request lO rtpptar as tmicus curl10 did not address the lep J issue! In SJ/vo-1'rl!Vfno and only sought to
penonally tnack PAIR Suell conduct is n<K !he role o(amieus clrilO.
' . .
We hope that the practitioners addressed in this letter reflect on their conduct in these matters
and on their obligation to advanc.: the ideals of the legal profession in the future.'


Jenn~J. ei:.Jes"-.J.
Disciplinary Counsel

cc: Michael M. Hethmon, Immigration Reform Law lns1i1u1e

Matt Adams, l\'ortbwcst Immigrant Rights Project
EuniL-e H)'Un.hye Cho. &.uth<'m Poverty Law Cc.iter Incorporated
Elisabeth B:-ody-ga, Refugio del Rio GranJe hicorpomted Law Office

'' In 1he spirit of civl Ji[) and ptofc:s.sionaJism c.itpc-ess~d in 1hls lener~ "'e would rtq_ues11ht11 th~ panfes addressed
herein.. FA1R. and the lmnti!,'rAtlon Reform l1w lnslilute hold leucr in confidc:oce.