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Circuit court judges throughout the nation have sharply criticized the immigration courts' failure to protect due process and uphold fundamental rights.  These decisions have played a significant role in the immigration debate. Tekelu v. Gonzales is one of several asylum cases the National Immigrant Justice Center has appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to demonstrate the need for review of lower cases by independent judges.

The immigration judge found in favor of Mr. Tekelu, but the asylum grant was overturned by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). The Seventh Circuit agreed with the immigration judge and found that ethnic-based denaturalization constituted “past persecution.” The court’s decision overturned the BIA’s asylum denial and expanded the definition of persecution to include forced denaturalization of a population on grounds of its ethnicity.

Mr. Tekelu was represented by pro bono attorneys from the Chicago office of Sidley Austin.

Tekelu was decided sub nom Haile v. Gonzales, 421 F.3d 493 (7th Cir. 2005).  Read the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision.