MEREDITH — An attorney representing a former government informant whom the Trump Administration is attempting to deport learned Wednesday that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has granted a rehearing.
The Court of Appeals asked the Concord trial court to reconsider its August decision against Renato Filippi, based upon what the defense maintains is “a valid agreement, enforceable at law,” between Filippi and the U.S. government.
Filippi entered the country illegally in 2002 to escape from the poor economic conditions and crime of his native Brazil. Federal officials then asked for his help in apprehending human traffickers in exchange for receiving a Social Security card, driver’s license, and work authorization papers that would allow him to stay in the United States indefinitely, as long as he committed no crimes. His wife and daughter subsequently entered the country legally and they now have U.S. citizenship.
When word got out that Filippi was helping the U.S. government, Brazilian gang leaders put a price on his head, prompting him to file for amnesty and relief under the United Nations Convention on Torture in 2014. An immigration judge denied his petition, and his appeal to settle his immigration status also was denied.
Filippi, who had been working for a Manchester company, checked in regularly with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Queen City office but, in September 2017, ICE officials ordered him to leave the country by Nov. 6.
Attorneys Robert McDaniel of Meredith and George Bruno of Manchester filed a federal lawsuit to halt Filippi’s deportation, but, with time running out, they petitioned the First Circuit court to intercede. Just before Filippi was to be deported, the court issued a temporary stay order to allow the legal team to pursue its appeal and for the court to have time to review the matter.
In February 2018, the court issued an order preventing Filippi’s deportation, pending his appeal, but in August of this year it denied the appeal and entered a judgment against him.
McDaniel said in an email that the legal team filed a Petition for Panel Rehearing based on its assertion that the court had “misapprehended the law by not sending the contract case back to the federal trial court in Concord.”
He said, “These petitions are always a long shot and are rarely granted,” but the Court of Appeals determined that “the case should be reconsidered on the very basis we put forward. It also vacated the earlier judgment and order and extended the injunction stopping the government from deporting him.
“This is an important decision which demonstrated the deliberate and thoughtful brand of legal analysis which makes our court system something to be respected,” McDaniel said. “Despite all of the discord in American society in recent years, a humble immigrant can still stop the President and the most powerful government in the world when justice demands.”