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Court Agrees with Students

Quesnel and Noreña successfully argued in the Ninth Circuit for deportee's return.


In an unpublished decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a case argued by Boston College Law School students Tyler Quesnel and Joe Noreña (above, l-r). The  students, who will be graduating in May, spent a year arguing that their client Luis Yepez-Vargas had been wrongfully deported. The court agreed and Yepez-Vargas, who is outside of the country, will return to appear at another immigration hearing.

Yepez-Vargas, who is 42 years old, received his green card when he was seven years old and lived in the United States until his deportation last year. He has extensive family ties and a solid employment history in the United States. With this victory, he will be allowed to return and ask for the return of his green card before an immigration judge.

As part of the Boston College Ninth Circuit Appellate Program (NCAP), Noreña and Quesnel were involved in a year-long program in which they presented opening and reply briefs and oral argument to a three-judge panel in San Francisco. A video of their argument is here.

The legal issues in the case revolved around whether a singular drug offense would strip away  Yepez-Vargas’s status as a lawful permanent resident, or would he be able to present his equities to a judge and ask for a second opportunity to remain a lawful permanent resident. The court agreed with the students’ arguments that the drug offense at issue was not an “aggravated felony” and not a crime relating to a controlled substance offense.

The NCAP was founded in 2013 and this was the 6th year it represented clients. The program has prevailed in eight of its twelve cases and five cases have been published.