Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

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In 2012 the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Eight states and the Governors of two states, led by Texas, have challenged DACA’s validity. In ruling on competing motions for summary judgment, the district court held that the DACA Memorandum violates procedural and substantive requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The district court vacated the DACA Memorandum and remanded to DHS for further consideration but temporarily stayed that vacatur as it applies to current DACA recipients. The district court further ruled that DHS may continue to accept new and renewal DACA applications but enjoined DHS from approving any new DACA applications.   The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment in part but remanded to the district court rather than DHS in light of a final rule promulgated by DHS in August 2022. The court explained that it affirmed the district court’s judgment with regard to the procedural and substantive provisions of the DACA memorandum.   There is evidence that if DACA were no longer in effect, at least some recipients would leave, and their departure would reduce the State’s Medicaid, social services and education costs for those individuals and their families who depart with them. Especially with the benefit of special solicitude, Texas has established that rescinding DACA would redress its harm. Accordingly, Texas has demonstrated standing based on its direct injury. Further, the court held that because DACA did not undergo notice and comment, it violates the procedural requirements of the APA. View "State of Texas v. USA" on Justia Law

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Petitioner a native and citizen of Cameroon, petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) decision affirming the Immigration Judge’s (“IJ”) denial of his claim for protection under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). Petitioner claimed the BIA failed to consider country conditions evidence when separately analyzing his CAT claim.
The Fifth Circuit agreed with Petitioner and granted the petition for review and remanded for further consideration of the CAT claim. The court concluded that the BIA’s statement in this case “raises too great a concern that the BIA did not adequately consider the evidence before it.” Petitioner plainly pointed to other evidence to support his CAT claim, i.e. the country conditions evidence determination is not necessarily dispositive of a CAT claim. Because the BIA incorrectly found no record evidence about relevant country conditions, Petitioner did not receive “meaningful consideration of the relevant substantial evidence supporting” his claims. View "Ndifon v. Garland" on Justia Law

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Petitioner petitions for review of the dismissal of her application for asylum and withholding of removal. She claimed abuse by a former boyfriend and gang member, but the immigration judge (“IJ”) denied her application because she did not find Petitioner credible. The Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) affirmed the IJ’s credibility finding and also concluded Petitioner did not raise a claim under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”) before the IJ.   The Fifth Circuit denied the petition. The court explained that the IJ acted squarely within her authority in finding Petitioner’s account not credible and denying her claims accordingly. Because nothing in the record supports a conclusion “that no reasonable factfinder could disbelieve” Petitioner, the court wrote that it cannot disturb the IJ’s credibility determination on appeal. Next, the court wrote that Petitioner twice chose, through counsel, not to check boxes expressly asking whether she sought CAT relief. By not checking that box, Petitioner plainly conveyed she did not “want to apply for withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture.” Accordingly, the BIA did not err in concluding Petitioner failed to raise a CAT claim. View "Cordero-Chavez v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The Secretary of Homeland Security promulgated the challenged OPT Rule pursuant to the Executive’s longstanding authority under the INA to set the “time” and “conditions” of nonimmigrants’ stay in the United States. Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (Washtech) argues that the statutory definition of the F-1 visa class precludes the Secretary from exercising the time-and-conditions authority to allow F-1 students to remain for school-recommended practical training after they complete their coursework. The district court sustained the OPT Rule’s authorization of a limited period of post-coursework Optional Practical Training if recommended and overseen by the school and approved by DHS, for qualifying students on F-1 visas.   The DC Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment. The court explained that Washtech is right that section 1324a(h)(3) is not the source of the relevant regulatory authority; it just defines what it means for an alien to be “unauthorized” for employment. But that was never the government’s point. What matters is that section 1324a(h)(3) expressly acknowledges that employment authorization need not be specifically conferred by statute; it can also be granted by regulation, as it has been in rules promulgated pursuant to DHS’s statutory authority to set the “conditions” of nonimmigrants’ admission to the United States. The OPT Rule’s authorization for F-1 students to work in jobs that provide practical training related to their course of study is just such a rule. Washtech’s claim that the OPT Rule conflicts with the congressional prohibition against unauthorized aliens’ employment therefore fails. View "WA Alliance of Tech. Workers v. DHS" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied the petition for review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner's application for cancellation of removal, holding that substantial evidence supported the BIA's determination that Petitioner had not shown prejudice, and the BIA committed no error of law in that ruling.Petitioner, a native of Haiti, was charged as removable under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(C) based on a firearm conviction. Petitioner filed applications for asylum, withholding of removal, protection under the Convention Against Torture, and cancellation of removal. The immigration judge (IJ) denied relief, and the BIA upheld the IJ's determination. The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review, holding that Petitioner was deserving of cancellation of removal. View "Dorce v. Garland" on Justia Law

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Petitioner petitioned for review of a decision that she is ineligible to have her removal order canceled. The Fifth Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition. The court explained that Petitioner is ineligible for any relief because her removal order was reinstated after she illegally reentered the country following a prior removal.   The court concluded that the BIA correctly determined that Petitioner is ineligible to be considered for cancelation of removal. She has never challenged the order reinstating her removal. The reinstatement statute prevents her from getting any immigration “relief.” And cancelation of removal is a form of relief. Accordingly, the court denied her petition. View "Ruiz-Perez v. Garland" on Justia Law

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This appeal concerns the district court’s sua sponte dismissal of Plaintiff’s amended complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under 28 U.S.C. Section 1915A—the early screening provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”). Plaintiff contends that the district court erred in designating him a “prisoner” under the PLRA at the time he filed his pro se complaint and that the district court further erred in ordering him to pay a filing fee before the district court.   The Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court’s ruling. The court held that the district court erred in applying the PLRA to Plaintiff’s action because Plaintiff, as a civil detainee in ICE custody, was not a “prisoner” under the PLRA when he filed his action. Thus, Plaintiff’s complaint must be viewed by the district court in the first instance and outside of the context of the PLRA on remand. Moreover, as Plaintiff was not a “prisoner” for purposes of the PLRA at the time that he filed this action, on remand, the court directed the district court to return the filing fees paid by Plaintiff pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 1915(b)(1). Further, regarding Plaintiff’s motion before this Court seeking a return of the appellate filing fees paid pursuant to the PLRA, that motion is granted and the Clerk is directed to refund to Plaintiff the appellate filing fees paid by him to pursue this appeal. View "Lyncoln Danglar v. State of Georgia, et al." on Justia Law

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De Castro, a citizen of the Dominican Republic came to the U.S. around 2002-2003. In 2012, he married a U.S. citizen. In 2014, his spouse’s Petition for Alien Relative was approved. The State Department notified De Castro that his immigrant visa petition was eligible for further processing. Months later, he was arrested as an alien in possession of a weapon, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(5)(A). De Castro eventually pleaded guilty and was allowed to depart voluntarily in 2017. Thirteen months after the Supreme Court’s 2019 “Rehaif” decision, De Castro sought a writ of error coram nobis challenging his conviction. In Rehaif, the Supreme Court held that section 922(g)'s “knowingly” provision applies to both the possession and immigration status elements. De Castro argued that the government never proved he knew he was illegally or unlawfully in the United States; the court never informed him at his plea colloquy that the government was required to prove that element.The Third Circuit affirmed the denial of the petition, finding that De Castro did not have a sound reason for his delay in seeking relief; his knowledge-of-immigration-status argument was not futile in 2017 when he entered his plea agreement; and De Castro cannot establish actual innocence under the Rehaif standard because he cannot demonstrate it is more likely than not that no reasonable juror would conclude that he knew of his status as an illegal alien at the time he possessed a firearm. View "United States v. De Castro" on Justia Law

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Appellant appealed the denial of his motion to withdraw his plea and vacate his conviction pursuant to Penal Code section 1473.7, subdivision (a). The Legislature has declared that section 1473.7, as amended by Assembly Bill No. 2867, “shall be interpreted in the interests of justice and consistent with the findings and declarations made in Section 1016.2 of the Penal Code.” (Stats 2018, ch. 825, Section 1, subd. (c).)   As a result, the Second Appellate District reversed the trial court’s order denying Appellant’s motion to withdraw his plea and vacate his conviction under Penal Code section 1473.7. The court remanded to the superior court with directions to grant the motion and vacate the conviction. The court concluded that Appellant has demonstrated a reasonable probability that if he had been properly advised of the immigration consequences of his plea, he would not have pleaded no contest to an offense that would subject him to mandatory deportation from the United States. Accordingly, the court wrote, that Appellant has carried his burden of establishing prejudicial error and is entitled to relief. View "P. v. Lopez" on Justia Law

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ICE has decided to rely almost exclusively on privately owned and operated facilities in California. Two such facilities are run by appellant The Geo Group, Inc. AB 32 would override the federal government’s decision, pursuant to discretion conferred by Congress, to use private contractors to run its immigration detention facilities.The Ninth Circuit en banc court vacated the district court’s denial of the United States and The Geo Group, Inc.’s motion for preliminary injunctive relief, and held that California enacted Assembly Bill (AB) 32, which states that a “person shall not operate a private detention facility within the state,” would give California a virtual power of review over Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s detention decisions, in violation of the Supremacy Clause.The en banc court held that whether analyzed under intergovernmental immunity or preemption, California cannot exert this level of control over the federal government’s detention operations. The en banc court remanded for further proceedings. The en banc court held that AB 32 would breach the core promise of the Supremacy Clause. To comply with California law, ICE would have to cease its ongoing immigration detention operations in California and adopt an entirely new approach in the state. This foundational limit on state power cannot be squared with the dramatic changes that AB 32 would require ICE to make. The en banc court held that appellants are likely to prevail on their claim that AB 32 violates the Supremacy Clause as to ICE-contracted facilities. View "THE GEO GROUP, INC., ET AL V. GAVIN NEWSOM, ET AL" on Justia Law