Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's determination that petitioner was removeable. The panel held that petitioner's prior conviction for first degree unlawful imprisonment under Hawaii Revised Statutes 707-721(1) is categorically a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) that made him removable. Applying the categorical approach, the panel explained that the Hawaii statute requires proof that the defendant knew that his actions would expose another person to a risk of serious bodily injury, and the panel's decision accords with the decisions of its sister circuits. View "Fugow v. Barr" on Justia Law

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8 U.S.C. 1231(a)(5) bars reopening a removal order that has been reinstated following an alien's unlawful reentry into the United States. Petitioner filed a motion to reopen his 2008 removal proceeding, which the IJ denied. The BIA then denied as moot petitioner's requests for equitable tolling and sua sponte reopening and dismissed his appeal. The Ninth Circuit held that, because petitioner's 2008 removal order has been reinstated, the BIA properly concluded that section 1231(a)(5) deprived it of jurisdiction to entertain his motion to reopen. The panel explained that Morales-Izquierdo v. Gonzales, which stated that reinstatement creates no new obstacles to attacking the validity of a prior removal order, and Miller v Sessions, which held that an individual placed in reinstatement proceedings retains the right conferred by section 1229a(b)(5)(C)(ii), to seek rescission of an in absentia order, were materially distinguishable from petitioner's case. Finally, the panel rejected petitioner's claim that incompetence raised questions similar to abstentia, and noted that even this harsher legal regime offered avenues of relief. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review of the BIA's decision. View "Padilla Cuenca v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Whether a conviction for a particular state offense qualifies as a basis for removability as an aggravated felony under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii) is a question of law under de novo review. The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's final order of removal. The BIA granted DHS's appeal of an IJ's order granting petitioner deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The Eighth Circuit held that defendant's conviction for willful injury causing bodily harm was a crime of violence in satisfaction of 18 U.S.C. 16(a) and a valid basis for removal under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii) because it was impossible to cause bodily injury without applying the force necessary to cause the injury. The court held that the BIA conducted a logical, clear error analysis and reached a permissible conclusion. View "Jima v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Lopez was born in Mexico in 1974, His mother, born in Mexico, acquired U.S. citizenship at birth through her mother. Mother entered the U.S. in 1978 and received a certificate of citizenship in 1990. Lopez was admitted to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident in 1985. In 2009, he was convicted of drug crimes and was sentenced to 122 months’ imprisonment. In 2018, DHS began removal proceedings, alleging that Lopez was removable under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii); (a)(2)(B)(i). Lopez maintained that the law at the time of his birth (8 U.S.C. 1401; 1431–32) that prevented him from automatically deriving citizenship violated the Equal Protection Clause. The law denied automatic citizenship to children born abroad to one citizen non-resident parent and one noncitizen parent unless the citizen parent met a physical presence requirement. An IJ declined to consider the equal protection challenge and ruled that Lopez was removable. The BIA affirmed. The Seventh Circuit denied a petition for review, finding that the statute has a rational basis, so there is no equal protection violation. Lopez did not maintain that he is a member of a suspect or protected class or that his fundamental rights were at stake. The legislation was aimed at preventing the perpetuation of U.S. citizenship by citizens born abroad who remain there, or who may have been born in the U.S. but who go abroad as infants and do not return to this country. View "Ramos v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Petitioners appealed the BIA's denial of their motion to reconsider the IJ's denial of their applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The Eighth Circuit held that circuit precedent, Ali v. Barr, 924 F.3d 983 (8th Cir. 2019), foreclosed petitioners' claim that the IJ lacked jurisdiction over their removal proceedings because the proceedings commenced with notices to appear that did not specify the date or time of their removal hearings. The court also held that the filing of a motion to reconsider does not toll the time for appeal of the underlying order; the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to reconsider where the agency applied the proper standard and considered petitioners' contentions; and the BIA did not commit legal error or abuse its discretion when it denied petitioners' motion to reconsider the denial of CAT relief and its analysis of their torture claim was not inconsistent with the court's binding precedent. In this case, there was no evidence that the police official provided evidence to the Mara 18 gang, was aware that this act would result in torture, and thereafter breached his legal responsibility to intervene to prevent such activity. View "Rodriguez de Henriquez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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In removal proceedings, petitioner Sandra Lopez-Munoz appeared and requested cancellation of removal, but the immigration judge declined the request. Petitioner unsuccessfully appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals, moved for the Board to reopen her case, petitioned for review to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, moved a second time for the Board to reopen her case, and moved for reconsideration of the denial of her second motion to reopen. The removal proceedings began with the service of a notice to appear. But because the notice to appear failed to include a date and time for her impending immigration hearing, petitioner argued the immigration judge lacked jurisdiction over the removal proceedings. If petitioner was correct, the Tenth Circuit concluded she might be entitled to relief based on the immigration judge’s lack of jurisdiction to order removal. In the Court’s view, however, the alleged defect would not preclude jurisdiction. It thus denied the petition for review. View "Lopez-Munoz v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's finding that petitioner was removable for an aggravated felony. The court held that petitioner's conviction for first‐degree robbery in violation of Connecticut General Statutes 53a‐134(a)(4) is a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. 16(a) and therefore an aggravated felony under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii), 1101(43)(F). View "Wood v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff and his wife appealed the district court's denial of their complaint alleging that USCIS unlawfully rejected the Form I-130 petition for Alien Relative that plaintiff filed on behalf of his wife. The district court dismissed the complaint based on lack of jurisdiction. The Fourth Circuit held that the district court erred in dismissing the complaint for lack of jurisdiction, because the Administrative Procedure Act authorized plaintiff's claim and 8 U.S.C. 1252(a)(2)(B) did not strip the court of jurisdiction to determine whether I-130 petitions pending at the time the Adam Walsh Act amended 8 U.S.C. 1154 should be processed by USCIS under the former or amended version of the statute. However, the court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint and held that USCIS properly applied the Adam Walsh Act's amendments when adjudicating plaintiff's petition and nothing in the text of the amendments indicated that Congress did not intend for them to apply to pending I-130 petitions. In this case, the petition had been filed, but the agency had not yet approved or rejected it when the statutory amendments came into effect. Therefore, the court held that the amendments were not applied retroactively to a past decision or concerning past eligibility, but rather were applied to a then-pending decision regarding current eligibility for the requested relief. Finally, the court held that plaintiff's remaining arguments to the contrary lacked merit. View "Moore v. Frazier" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of a preliminary injunction against DOJ's use of the notice and access conditions imposed on recipients of Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program formula grants. The panel held that DOJ lacked statutory authority to require recipients of the grant to comply with DHS requests for notice of a detained alien's release date and time and to allow DHS agents access to detained aliens upon request. The panel held that DOJ lacked statutory authority to the notice and access conditions -- which were not special conditions nor were they listed among the statutorily recognized purposes of a Byrne JAG award -- under section 10102(a)(6) of the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Act of 2005. The panel rejected DOJ's argument that the notice and access conditions were further supported by provisions in the Byrne JAG statute that authorize the Attorney General to obtain certain information and require coordination with agencies. View "Los Angeles v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying asylum and withholding of removal as to Petitioner's family membership persecution claim for relief, denied the relief Petitioner sought on alternate particular social group (PSG) theories and for protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), and remanded for proceedings on Petitioner's family membership persecution claim, holding that the agency's decision was based on errors of law. Petitioner, a Honduran nation, sought asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT relief, asserting that he had experienced past persecution on account of a protected ground - his membership in his mother's nuclear family - and would face future persecution. The immigration judge denied asylum relief, holding that Petitioner had not met his burden to show the required nexus. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit vacated in part, holding (1) the BIA's decision as to Petitioner's asylum and withholding of removal claims based on his persecution as a member of his mother's family was based on legal errors, requiring a remand for the BIA to make its own finding using the correct legal standard; and (2) the BIA's decision as to Petitioner's other proposed PSGs and his CAT claim contained no legal errors and was supported by substantial evidence. View "Enamorado-Rodriguez v. Barr" on Justia Law