Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

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Various states, municipalities, and organizations filed suit seeking a preliminary injunction against the implementation of DHS's Final Rule, which redefined the term "public charge" to require consideration of not only cash benefits, but also certain non-cash benefits. Under the Final Rule, an alien is a public charge if they receive one or more public benefits, including cash and non-cash benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Section 8 housing assistance, Section 8 project-based rental assistance, Medicaid (with certain exceptions), and Section 9 public housing. The Ninth Circuit granted a stay of two preliminary injunctions granted by two different district courts, holding that DHS has shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits because the Final Rule was neither contrary to law nor arbitrary and capricious; DHS will suffer irreparable harm because the preliminary injunctions will force it to grant status to those not legally entitled to it; and the balance of the equities and public interest favor a stay. View "City and County of San Francisco v. USCIS" on Justia Law

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The revocation of citizenship on the ground that the grant of citizenship was "illegally procured or . . . procured by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation," 8 U.S.C. 1451(a), does not constitute a "penalty" for purposes of the five year statute of limitations generally applicable to civil fines, penalties, and forfeitures, under 28 U.S.C. 2462. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the government, holding that the purpose of denaturalization is to remedy a past fraud by taking back a benefit to which an alien is not entitled. Therefore, the panel held that section 2462 did not provide petitioner a statute of limitations defense, because denaturalization was not a penalty for purposes of section 2462. View "United States v. Phattey" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the denial of petitioner and her son's requests for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). As a preliminary matter, the court held that the notices petitioner and her son received satisfied the relevant regulations and the IJ had jurisdiction over her case. The court held that the evidence did not compel a finding in petitioner's favor on either her asylum or withholding of removal requests. Assuming validity of her membership in a particular social group and her political belief in the rule of law, the court held that substantial evidence supported the IJ's finding that petitioner failed to show a connection between them and any persecution she has faced or will face. Furthermore, substantial evidence supported the IJ's denial of protection under the CAT, because petitioner failed to show that it was more likely than not that she would be tortured if she returned to Honduras, and failed to point to evidence establishing that Honduran authorities would acquiesce to the torture of her and her son. View "Martinez-Lopez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's final order reversing the IJ's grant of petitioner's application for asylum and denial of withholding of removal. The court agreed with the BIA that petitioner failed to establish membership in a particular social group. In light of Matter of A-B-, 27 I. & N. Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018), petitioner's proposed social group of "women in Mexico who are unable to leave their domestic relationships" was not a cognizable particular social group under the Immigration and Nationality Act. View "Amezcua-Preciado v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's determination that petitioner was removable and ineligible for cancellation of removal. The court held that petitioner's conviction under New York Penal Law 110.00, 130.45 for attempted oral or anal sexual conduct with a person under the age of fifteen constitutes sexual abuse of a minor, and was therefore an aggravated felony under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The court explained that petitioner's conviction under the New York statute did not encompass more conduct than the generic definition and could not realistically result in an individual's conviction for conduct made with a less than knowing mens rea. View "Acevedo v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Defendant Sara Salcido was in the business of providing immigration services — typically, obtaining visas for her clients that would allow them to stay in the United States legally. Defendant failed to comply with the consumer protection requirements outlined in the Immigration Consultant Act, and was ultimately convicted on one count of misdemeanor unlawfully engaging in the business of an immigration consultant. The State argued, however, that each time defendant took money from a client in exchange for providing immigration services, she was committing theft by false pretenses, because she was not a legally qualified immigration consultant under state law. The trial court agreed; thus, it also convicted her on six counts of grand theft, and two counts of petty theft. It dismissed two additional counts of grand theft as time-barred. Defendant was placed on probation for five years. In the published portion of its opinion, the Court of Appeal held federal law did not preempt the application of the Act to defendant. In the unpublished portion, the Court held one of defendant’s probation conditions had to be stricken. Accordingly, judgment was affirmed as modified. View "California v. Salcido" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit dismissed the petition for judicial review of the BIA's order denying petitioner's application for asylum. The court held that the BIA's July 9 remand order did not constitute a final order of removal within the meaning of 8 U.S.C. 1252, and thus the court lacked jurisdiction to consider the petition. In this case, the BIA remanded petitioner's case to the IJ for background checks, and thus the BIA order underlying the petition for judicial review was not a final order. View "Kouambo v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision denying a waiver of deportation under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(1)(H), based on the frivolous asylum application bar at 8 U.S.C. 1158(d)(6). Section 1158(d)(6) states that if the Attorney General determines that an alien has knowingly made a frivolous application for asylum and the alien has received the notice under paragraph (4)(A), the alien shall be permanently ineligible for any benefits under this chapter. The panel held that the frivolous asylum application bar precluded an applicant from receiving all benefits under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The court held that the phrase "this chapter" refers to Chapter 12 of Title 8 of the U.S. Code, the chapter in which the section is found. Therefore, as a result of the frivolous asylum application finding, the panel held that petitioner was barred from receiving all benefits under the INA, including a waiver of deportation. View "Manhani v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's decision concluding that petitioner was ineligible for a waiver of removability under section 237(a)(1)(H) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The panel held that a noncitizen who seeks a section 237(a)(1)(H) waiver is "otherwise admissible" even though he failed to return to his country of origin for at least two years, as required by INA section 212(e). Therefore, the BIA's contrary interpretation contravened the statute's text, and petitioner was otherwise admissible for purposes of section 237(a)(1)(H) waiver notwithstanding 212(e). In this case, notwithstanding his failure to satisfy or receive a waiver of the two-year residency requirement, petitioner was admissible under several provisions of 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15). The panel remanded for the agency to use its discretion in determining whether to grant the requested waiver. View "Fares v. Barr" on Justia Law

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After petitioner was ordered removed by DHS because he violated the terms of his admission under the Visa Waiver Program, he filed a motion to reopen. An ICE Deputy Field Officer Director denied petitioner's motion and petitioner appealed. The Fifth Circuit dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction because it called for judicial review of a denial of a motion that petitioner was not entitled to file. The court held that, as a Visa Waiver Program participant, petitioner was limited to contesting his removal on the basis of an application for asylum and he has conceded that he was not seeking asylum. Therefore, the statute on its face barred petitioner from challenging his deprivation of a hearing by means of a motion to reopen. Furthermore, petitioner's reliance on the carve-out in 8 U.S.C. 1231(a)(5) was unavailing. View "Lavery v. Barr" on Justia Law