Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the IJ's and BIA's decisions denying relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Petitioner claimed that the Somali government will acquiesce in his torture by Al-Shabaab, a terrorist organization.The court held that substantial evidence supported the IJ's and BIA's findings that the Somali government would not acquiesce in any torture of petitioner by Al-Shabaab. In this case, the record does not show that the Somali government has willfully turned a blind eye to Al-Shabaab's activities. Rather, the Somali government and its allies have battled Al-Shabaab, retaken territory from it, and worked to maintain order. Furthermore, the Somali government is using its amnesty program as part of its fight against Al-Shabaab as a tool to encourage defections. Finally, petitioner's argument that the Somali government and Al-Shabaab act in concert to torture people is wholly without record support. The court stated that the fact that the Somali government has not successfully ended the threat posed by Al-Shabaab violence is insufficient to establish that the torture would be with the consent or acquiescence of a government official. View "Moallin v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Shuhaiber, who is confined to a wheelchair, sued the Illinois Department of Corrections under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act. He alleged that the Stateville Center failed to accommodate his disability by confining him to a cell unsuited to the use of a wheelchair and that he was transported to physical therapy in vans that were not ADA-compliant, leaving him to depend on an officer to lift him. The district court dismissed the complaint, determining that Shuhaiber failed to allege that he was deprived of access to facilities or services or that the vans caused him to miss medical appointments.Shuhaiber appealed and sought permission to proceed without prepaying the requisite filing fee. Meanwhile, Shuhaiber, a native of the United Arab Emirates, had been transferred to DHS custody for removal from the United States. Shuhaiber, as a frequent filer of federal lawsuits, had accumulated more than three strikes under the Prison Litigation Reform Act for filing frivolous lawsuits and would have had to prepay the filing fee to appeal the dismissal of his claims. Doubting that Shuhaiber was still a “prisoner,” the district court granted his motion to proceed in forma pauperis.The Seventh Circuit affirmed that the appellate filing-fee bar does not apply where the appellant is being held by immigration authorities and no longer is a “prisoner” within the meaning of the PLRA. The district court was, nonetheless, right to dismiss his claims. View "Shuhaiber v. Illinois Department of Corrections" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit granted the petition for review of the BIA's decision denying petitioner's application for protective status pursuant to the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Petitioner is a former gang member who has belonged to various violent gangs, including La Mara Salvatrucha, commonly known as MS-13.Addressing two initial matters, the panel concluded that the Board's defiance of the panel's previous decision in this matter and disagreement with the panel's holding that the IJ did not find petitioner's expert, a specialist in gang activity in Central America and governmental responses to gangs, credible was ill-advised. The panel also disagreed with the Board's conclusion that the expert's testimony did not warrant full weight because he did not submit the underlying evidence to the IJ. Finally, the panel held that the Board's decision to give the expert's opinion reduced weight because it was not corroborated by other evidence in the record was erroneous. The panel remanded to the Board and directed it to give full weight to the expert's testimony regarding the risk of torture petitioner faces if removed to El Salvador. View "Castillo v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's decision denying petitioners' motion to reopen. Petitioners contend that ineffective assistance of a non-attorney notario who advised them not to attend their hearing caused them to be ordered removed in absentia.The panel concluded that the BIA erred by treating petitioners' failure to show prejudice caused by the alleged ineffective assistance as a basis for denying their motion to reopen proceedings. The panel explained that a showing of prejudice is not required when ineffective assistance leads to an in absentia order of removal. Therefore, in light of this conclusion, the panel need not reach the BIA's decision denying petitioners' motion to reopen proceeding to allow petitioners to apply for cancellation of removal. View "Sanchez Rosales v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition to review a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying his requests for asylum and withholding of removal under the Immigration and Naturalization Act and for protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that substantial evidence supported the BIA's decision.Specifically, the First Circuit held (1) Petitioner failed to establish that he had been persecuted or had a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion; and (2) the record did not compel a conclusion that state actors would be complicit in torturing him in the future. View "Celicourt v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Petitioners appealed the dismissal of their petitions for habeas corpus. Petitioners claimed that their due process rights had been violated by failure to honor the parole notice, that federal statutes and regulations created a right to parole based on the parole notices they had received, that the parole notices should be honored under customary international law, and that a legitimate expectation of parole had been created. Within two weeks after the petition was filed, ICE released petitioners from custody but not on parole. The district court determined that petitioners' release from detention rendered the habeas petition moot, and ordered that the government provide petitioners or their attorneys with written notice that their parole had been terminated. The district court subsequently dismissed the habeas petition.The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal and rejected petitioners' argument that their inability to seek work authorization is a collateral consequence that should allow them to maintain their petition. The court was not convinced that aliens who are released from ICE custody can maintain a habeas petition by showing collateral consequences. Furthermore, even if they could demonstrate collateral consequences, they have not done so here because any work authorization is subject to USCIS discretion. View "Bacilio-Sabastian v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Wambura, a citizen of Tanzania, was a lawful U.S. permanent resident. Wambura pled guilty to a conspiracy to fraudulently secure a mortgage and obtain federally subsidized rent using a stolen identity. He was sentenced to 60 months' imprisonment and ordered to pay $434,867.65 in restitution. Removal proceedings (8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)) asserted that Wambura had been convicted of two crimes involving moral turpitude not arising out of a single scheme of criminal misconduct and had been convicted of an aggravated felony relating to an offense that involves fraud or deceit in which the loss to the victims exceeds $10,000.Wambura applied for asylum and withholding of removal and for protection under Convention Against Torture. The IJ concluded that Wambura was removable based on his aggravated felony and moral turpitude convictions and, because of those convictions, was ineligible for cancellation of removal or asylum. Due to the length of his sentence, Wambura was ineligible for withholding of removal. Pursuing deferral of removal under CAT, Wambura testified about his involvement with an opposition political party and claimed that his father told him he is being followed by the secret police. The IJ asked for corroborating evidence. Wambura claimed he was unable to provide it because he was unable to access his email account. The BIA affirmed a denial of relief.The Fourth Circuit remanded. Once the requirements for removability are met, the government does not have the burden to prove that the amount of loss caused by the fraud conviction is $10,000 or more for purposes of asylum and withholding of removal. An IJ is not required to provide an alien with advance notice of the need to offer corroborating evidence but must make a finding as to whether such corroborating evidence was reasonably available if it was not provided. View "Wambura v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Statewide filed three actions alleging that certain aspects of DHS's current administration of the immigration-bond system violate the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and Statewide's right to due process under the United States Constitution. The district court dismissed Statewide I for failure to state a claim and lack of jurisdiction, Statewide II on DHS's motion for judgment on the pleadings, and Statewide III for failure to state a claim.In Statewide I, plaintiffs sued DHS to prevent its collection on breached immigration bonds before the resolution of Statewide's pending untimely appeals; in Statewide II, plaintiffs sued DHS to prevent collection on breached immigration bonds because DHS provided allegedly defective Notices to Appear and Notices to Produce Alien before issuing bond breach determinations; and in Statewide III, plaintiffs sued DHS for rejecting appeals of bond breach determinations that Statewide alleges were timely filed.The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the APA claims in Statewide I and III because the challenged DHS actions are consistent with the pertinent regulations. The court also affirmed the district court's dismissal of the due process claims in Statewide I, II, and III because the multiple means DHS provides to contest final bond breach determinations afford Statewide constitutionally sufficient process. View "Statewide Bonding, Inc. v. Department of Homeland Security" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied the petition for review of the BIA's adverse credibility determination, decision to deny withholding of removal relief, denial of petitioner's claim under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), and denial of petitioner's motion to remand for reconsideration.The court held that substantial evidence supported the agency's adverse credibility determination where the IJ identified numerous omissions and inconsistencies, several of which petitioner does not dispute occurred. In regard to withholding removal, at bottom, the court agreed with the Board's conclusion that petitioner's first proposed social group—Honduran women who have been targeted for and resisted gang recruitment after the murder of a gang-associated partner—is not cognizable. The court also agreed with the Board that petitioner failed to show her membership in her second proposed social group: Honduran women in domestic relationships who are unable to leave or are viewed as property by virtue of their position in a domestic relationship. In regard to petitioner's CAT claim, the court rejected petitioner's claim that the Board erred by failing to meaningfully consider all the evidence submitted and found the Board's conclusion that petitioner did not prove requisite state action is supported by substantial evidence. Finally, the Board did not engage in impermissible factfinding and the Board did not abuse its discretion in not remanding the case for consideration of new evidence. View "Suate-Orellana v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Khan was admitted to the U.S. as a legal permanent resident in 2000. In 2006, he pleaded guilty to possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana. He was not then subject to removal for “a single offense involving possession for one’s own use of 30 grams or less of marijuana,” 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(B)(i). In 2010, Khan was convicted for two counts of larceny in the third degree under Connecticut law, which subjected him to removal as “convict[ions] of two or more crimes involving moral turpitude, not arising out of a single scheme of criminal misconduct,” 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(ii).Khan sought cancellation of removal, which required that he resided in the U.S. continuously for seven years after having been admitted, 8 U.S.C. 1229b(a)(2). The “stop-time rule” stops the accrual of continuous residence when the noncitizen “has committed an offense referred to in section 1182(a)(2) . . . that renders the alien inadmissible.” Khan argued the rule did not apply because Connecticut later decriminalized the marijuana offense. His conviction had been vacated. The IJ disagreed, reasoning that the vacatur was due to a “post-conviction event,” rather than “on the basis of a procedural or substantive defect in the underlying proceeding.” The BIA affirmed. The Third Circuit denied a petition for review. The stop-time rule still applies if, post-conviction, the offense has been decriminalized and the conviction vacated; Khan did not satisfy the continuous-residence requirement for eligibility for cancellation of removal. View "Khan v. Attorney General United States" on Justia Law