Christopher Stender and Albillo-Figueroa v. INS
Currently a partner at Stender & Lappin in San Diego, Christopher Stender is an immigration attorney with experience representing clients in front of the Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the case Albillo-Figueroa v. the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Christopher Stender’s previous firm, Stender & Larkin, represented the petitioner.
In 2000, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reached a ruling in Albillo-Figueroa v. INS. The case involved Fredy Paul Albillo-Figueroa, a citizen of Guatemala and a legal United States immigrant. Four years earlier, Albillo-Figueroa had pled guilty to one count of possessing counterfeit obligations and one count of aiding and abetting. The U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada sentenced him to 15 months’ imprisonment. Several months after the sentencing, INS filed suit to deport him under the Immigration and Nationality Act, because he was an alien convicted of what it considered an aggravated felony, a deportable charge.
The following year, the immigration judge sided with Albillo-Figueroa. It canceled deportation proceedings because it did not consider his crime an aggravated felony. The Board of Immigration Appeals disagreed with this ruling, however, and decided that his crime constituted an aggravated felony. It remanded the case back to the immigration judge, who found Albillo-Figueroa deportable.
Albillo-Figueroa petitioned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to review the case. The court had to determine whether possessing counterfeit obligations is a violation related to the crime of counterfeiting itself, which would mark it as an aggravated felony. By reviewing previous case law and interpreting statutory intent, the court ruled that possessing counterfeit obligations is an aggravated felony, and that aliens convicted of this crime are deportable. Due to certain sections of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, the court ruled that it lacked jurisdiction over the matter and dismissed Albillo-Figueroa’s appeal.