ILW.COM - the immigration portal Seminars

Asylum For Beginners

Speakers: Jeff Joseph, Andres Benach, Ally Bolour, David Cleveland, H. Raymond Fasano, Ilana Greenstein and Thomas K. Ragland

Available on CD

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Each call features an hour of analysis, strategy and practice tips, followed by 30 minutes of questions and answers from participants. MCLE Credits available in many states.


FIRST Phone Session on July 29: Preparing A Well-Developed Asylum Claim

  • Preparing the client affidavit/declaration: How long should it be?
  • Defining the class of persecution: One theory or many?
  • Establishing the motive of the persecutor: What does one central reason mean?
  • How do you establish the harm? Emotional harm? Economic harm enough?
  • Dealing with the one year deadline: How do you establish changed or exceptional circumstances?
  • What sources should you use to establish country conditions?
  • Working with experts: Do you need one? How do you find them and which do you use?
  • Medical forensics evaluations: Are they helpful?
  • Authentication of documents: What are the requirements?
  • What is the attorney's role at the interview?
  • Late breaking items

SECOND Phone Session on August 26: Defending the Asylum Claim in Immigration Court

  • How to deal with dual nationality
  • Firm resettlement: Is there a way around this?
  • Material support bar: what constitutes material support? How to establish duress
  • Extortion vs. Persecution
  • Corroboration: is it required? Dealing with REAL ID
  • Dealing with credibility:
  • Challenging DOS letters
  • Challenging adverse authentication or forensics findings
  • Admissibility of Asylum Officer assessments
  • Late breaking items

THIRD Phone Session on September 23: The Ever Changing Dynamic of Social Group Claims

  • FGM
  • Sexual Orientation claims
  • Domestic Violence: Matter of R-A-, where are we now?
  • Gang cases: Are they winnable? Matter of S-E-G-
  • Family as a social group
  • Family planning claims
  • Late breaking items

Citations for Session 3       


Jeff Joseph (Discussion Leader) is senior partner of Joseph Law Firm, PC. He is a graduate of the University of Denver, College of Law. He is a past Chapter Chair of the Colorado Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and currently serves as an elected director on the AILA National Board of Governors. He has been qualified as an expert witness before the state and federal courts on employment-related and criminal-related immigration issues, and is a frequent local and national lecturer on various immigration topics. Mr. Joseph has been a speaker at the annual AILA conferences every year since 2001, and he has also addressed numerous other regional and state immigration conferences. Mr. Joseph has represented clients before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Board of Immigration Appeals, the U.S. District Courts, and the Circuit Courts of Appeals, and has published several opinions in those courts. He is an adjunct professor of immigration law at the University of Denver, College of Law. Mr. Joseph is bi-lingual in Spanish and English. Mr. Joseph heads up the employment-based immigration section and works primarily on employment based immigration cases, employer sanctions and federal litigation.

Andres Benach is partner in Duane Morris LLP. Mr. Benach practices in the area of immigration law, concentrating his practice on litigation matters before the federal courts and the immigration courts, specifically in complex matters regarding removability, inadmissibility, citizenship and the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Mr. Benach has over ten years of experience handling sensitive, complex and challenging matters involving naturalization, asylum, complex removal, adjustment of status, federal litigation and waivers of inadmissibility. Mr. Benach has developed a highly regarded immigration litigation practice in the capital area, identified as being at the "forefront of an emerging generation of litigators" in the immigration field by Chambers International. Mr. Benach was the inaugural chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association Washington, D.C. Chapter Litigation Committee in 2007 and co-chairs the committee in 2008 with Thomas Ragland. Mr. Benach is a 1998 cum laude graduate of George Washington University Law School and a graduate of Boston College. Mr. Benach is fluent in Spanish.

Ally Bolour has been practicing immigration law since 1996 when he was admitted to the California State Bar. Mr. Bolour graduated from Southwestern University School of Law, in Los Angeles, California with a Juris Doctor. He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Lawyers Association. Since 2004, he has served on the Board of Directors at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) based in NY. From 2007 until 2009, he was the Co-Chair of the Board at IGLHRC. He also serves as a co-liaison of the Asylum Office for the AILA Southern California Chapter. Previously, he was the Co-Chair, of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, Immigration Law Section in 1999/2000 and since 1998, continues to volunteer at and take pro bono cases for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center and the HIV & AIDS Legal Services Alliance (HALSA). He has participated as a guest speaker in various immigration-related seminars sponsored by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, National Immigration Project, Harvard University LGBT Policy and Law Conference, Immigration Equality, and Lavender Law Project. He speaks fluent Farsi.

David Cleveland is a staff attorney at Catholic Charities of Washington DC. He is a graduate of the University of Rochester and of Case Western Reserve University School of Law. After being a college instructor in Indonesia for three years, David was a defense attorney for the District of Columbia, where he conducted over 40 civil jury trials. He joined Catholic Charities of Washington DC in 1998, specializing in asylum. In 2004, he was selected out of 275,000 candidates to be the "National Catholic Charities Volunteer of the Year." He served as the AILA representative to the US-CIS Asylum Office from 2003-2006; and as the Chair of the AILA Asylum Committee from 2004-2005. Articles and chapters by David have been published by AILA, Bender's Immigration Bulletin, and ILW.COM.

H. Raymond Fasano is a member of the Law Offices of Madeo & Fasano based in New York City. Mr. Fasano's practice is dedicated to immigration litigation on the agency and federal level throughout the nation. Mr. Fasano is counsel of record in several published opinions in Circuit Courts across the country. He is the author of several published articles in the area of immigration litigation including: "Why Are You Here? Jurisdiction in District Court for Mandamus Actions Over Delayed Adjudications," by H. Raymond Fasano, Esq. and Donald F. Madeo, Esq. 85 NO. 16 Interpreter Releases 1181 (April 14, 2008); "Coercive Population Control Claims After Matter of J-W-S-" by H. Raymond Fasano, Esq. and Donald F. Madeo, Esq., 84 NO. 28 Interpreter Releases 1677 (July 23, 2007); "Holding by Administrative Fiat: Why Matter of Acosta Hidalgo was Erroneously Decided," H. Raymond Fasano, Esq. and Donald F. Madeo, Esq., 84 NO. 15 Interpreter Releases 841, 841) (April 9, 2007); "Testing the Faithful in the Second Circuit: Religious Persecution and Political Asylum," H. Raymond Fasano, Esq. and Donald F. Madeo, Esq., 83 NO. 17 Interpreter Releases 765, 765 (April 24, 2006).

Ilana Greenstein has been with Kaplan, O'Sullivan and Friedman, LLP, as an associate attorney since 1998. Her work in that capacity covers all aspects of immigration law, in particular, litigation in federal circuit and district courts. She holds a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law, and a B.A. in Spanish and International Studies from Macalester College. She served on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild from 1996-2002, and on the steering committee of the Boston Bar Associations's Individual Rights & Responsibilities section since 2000. Ms. Greenstein is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in the Federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and in the 1st and 11th Circuit Courts of Appeals.

Thomas K. Ragland is a Partner in Duane Morris, LLP. He practices in the area of immigration law. Mr. Ragland represents clients in all aspects of immigration-related litigation, including complex removal proceedings, administrative and federal court appeals, petitions for writ of mandamus, habeas corpus actions, petitions for review, preliminary injunctions and petitions for hearings on naturalizations. He has specific experience in defense against removal, immigration consequences of criminal convictions, waivers of inadmissibility, asylum, adjustment of status, naturalization, detention and bond issues, and defense against terrorism- and security-related bars to admission. Mr. Ragland is a 1994 cum laude graduate of Boston College Law School, where he was editor in chief of the Boston College Third World Law Journal, and a graduate, with honors, of the University of Virginia.


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$199 Seminar Package 
Includes all three dates:

Audio CD of Thur, Jul 29, 2009 (90 Minutes)
Audio CD of Thur, Aug 26, 2009 (90 Minutes)
Audio CD of Thur, Sep 23, 2009 (90 Minutes)

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Disclaimer: participation in this seminar does not create an attorney-client relationship with the speakers