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Matter of J.R. Velasquez

The Board held that mere submission of a conviction document by DHS is not enough to establish its admissibility, at least where the respondent denies the alleged conviction. The government must provide some form of authentication, and it must be sufficiently reliable to comport with due process. The Board held that 8 C.F.R. § 1003.41(a), (b), and (c) establish safe harbors for conviction documents that are originals, certified copies, and electronic records certified in writing by both the state repository and DHS, but it also held that those were not the only admissible conviction documents.

In this case, DHS submitted an electronic conviction record that was not certified by either the court that generated it or by the DHS officer who received it. Nor was there any attempt to authenticate it in any other way. The Board therefore found that the document was not admissible and remanded for further factfinding.

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