Former ICE Attorney Pleads Guilty in Case Triggered by NWIRP Lawsuit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 15, 2016
Contact: Matt Adams, Legal Director, NWIRP
(206) 501-6249; firstname.lastname@example.org
Seattle, WA - A former attorney with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Jonathan M. Love, pleaded guilty today to federal criminal charges following an investigation initiated as a result of a lawsuit brought by Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP). Mr. Love admitted fabricating evidence that he then presented to the Seattle Immigration Court in order to prevent a long-time Washington resident from obtaining legal protections to which he was eligible.
"This case is an important step in establishing accountability and sending a clear message to the community that all people are entitled to a fair hearing," said Matt Adams, legal director of NWIRP. "Now that Mr. Love has admitted fabricating evidence in this case, we call on the Department of Homeland Security to review all of the cases he handled to determine whether there are other victims who need relief."
The federal criminal investigation of Mr. Love's forgery was a result of a civil case brought by NWIRP on behalf of Ignacio Lanuza, who has resided in the United States since the mid-1990s. ICE placed Mr. Lanuza in removal (deportation) proceedings in 2008. Mr. Lanuza was eligible to obtain lawful permanent residence before the immigration court but Mr. Love forged a document he then submitted to the immigration court to make it appear as if Mr. Lanuza was ineligible for this benefit. The immigration judge ordered Mr. Lanuza deported expressly on the basis of the forged document. This deportation order was initially upheld on appeal until a new attorney for Mr. Lanuza uncovered the fraudulent conduct. Mr. Lanuza's immigration case was ultimately reopened and, five years later, the immigration court approved his application for permanent residence, but not until after Mr. Lanuza and his family had endured years of uncertainty and expensive litigation.
"I am glad that action has been taken in this case," said Ignacio Lanuza. "I remain worried about how many other people were impacted by his actions but did not take their cases as far as I did."
Mr. Lanuza's civil case against Mr. Love and ICE remains pending.
A copy of the federal criminal information filed against Mr. Love can be found here.