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.

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About Christopher Stender

After working for three years as Assistant Chief Counsel for the San Diego District of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service, Christopher Stender launched a law partnership in 1993. Initially known as Stender & Larkin, the firm was renamed Stender & Associates, PC. Christopher Stender and his team of bilingual associates provide comprehensive immigration-related legal services, working with individuals held at Arizona’s detention centers and prisons in Eloy and Florence, as well as at California’s detention centers in El Centro, San Diego, and San Pedro. Christopher Stender assists in bond procurement and payment, visitation and hearing scheduling, and detainee transportation. He is known for taking tough cases, promoting novel legal theories, and getting positive results for his clients. He routinely appears before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as the First, Fifth, and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States. Prospective clients can read about the immigration process in both English and Spanish on his website. Christopher Stender spent his undergraduate years at the University of Würzburg, Germany, and the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. He earned his Juris Doctor in 1990 from the Syracuse University College of Law. An East Coast native who lived abroad for two years, Christopher Stender has traveled extensively throughout Europe. In addition to his native English, he speaks German and Spanish. He supports Grace Point Church, Homeless Outreach, Cesar Chavez Elementary School, Tijuana Schools Mission, and Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project. He lives with his wife and four children in San Diego.

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