Nearly two decades after receiving his initial deportation orders, a UC San Diego grad will have his immigration case reopened.
Mark Farrales first came to the United States in 1990 after his father, a lawyer and political candidate in the Philippines, was injured in an apparent assassination attempt.
Overstaying a travel visa, the Farrales family was denied their request for political asylum and ordered to leave the United States in 1998. Patriarch Jaime, however, continued fighting the deportation until his death in 2006. During this time, Mark was named valedictorian of his Los Angeles high school before attending Harvard University, where he graduated magna cum laude.
Farrales then came to UCSD and earned a master's degree in political science. When arrested and detained for approximately a month on immigration charges in 2010 he was a doctoral candidate at the campus. According to a Courthouse News Service report, his "scholarship has been devoted to examining corruption in his native country."
Still, immigration officials denied his initial petition to re-examine his deportation order, given that it was filed more than 90 days after the conclusion of the original case.
Farrales argued that changing political conditions in the Philippines since 1998 warranted consideration, which was also initially denied by the federal Board of Immigration Appeals. In an unpublished decision filed in late December, however, the Ninth District Court of Appeals disagreed.
"The BIA abused its discretion when it concluded that there was not evidence of 'a material change in conditions' in the Philippines," reads a part of the decision. "Along with his first motion to reopen an application for relief, Farrales submitted a personal declaration and Freedom House reports that demonstrate a substantial increase in political violence and decrease in political freedom in the Philippines between 1998 and 2010.
"Moreover, Farrales also provided extensive documentary evidence, including news articles and a transcript from a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, of an increase in political violence and extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, especially against those who criticize governmental corruption."
Farrales's petition to reconsider his deportation order, six years after it was initially filed, will now be remanded back to the immigration appeals board.