Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for judicial review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissing Petitioner's appeal of the immigration court's order of removal and its denial of his application for cancellation of removal, holding that there was no merit to Petitioner's arguments. On appeal, Petitioner argued, among other things, that the notice to appear (NTA) that initiated his removal proceedings was defective because it omitted the date and time of his initial removal hearing, and thus, the immigration court lacked jurisdiction over the proceedings and the removal order was without effect. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) for the same reasons as were explicated in Goncalves Pontes v. Barr, __ F.3d __ (1st Cir. 2019), Petitioner's NTA was effective to commence removal proceedings in the immigration court; and (2) the BIA did not err in rejecting Petitioner's claim for relief from removal premised upon the allegedly ineffective assistance of Petitioner's counsel. View "Ferreira v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision denying petitioner's motion to reopen his 1996 in absentia deportation order. Petitioner argued that he did not receive proper notice of the hearing because he was 16 years old in 1996 and no adult was served with the Order to Show Cause and Notice of Hearing (OSC). The panel held that Flores-Chavez v. Ashcroft, 362 F.3d 1150 (9th Cir. 2004), which required the INS to serve notice to both the juvenile and to the person the juvenile was authorized to be released to, did not extend to situations in which a minor over the age of 14 was never detained or released to an adult by the INS and in which he initiated proceedings by filing an affirmative request for relief. The panel applied the test in Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319 (1976), and held that notice given to petitioner in this case comported with due process. The panel applied the balancing factors and held that the burden on the government of providing notice to a responsible adult living with a juvenile over the age of 14 outweighs the interest of never-detained minors over the age of 14, at least those who have filed an affirmative request for relief. View "Cruz Pleitez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision affirming an immigration judge's (IJ) denial of his claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that there was substantial evidence supporting the BIA's affirmance of the IJ's decision. In ordering the removal of Petitioner, a native and citizen of Ecuador, the IJ found that Petitioner was not a credible witness and that Petitioner had not met his burden for any relief. The BIA affirmed. Before the First Circuit, Petitioner argued that the BIA failed to consider all the evidence and erred in determining that he had not meaningfully challenged the adverse credibility finding. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that there was substantial evidence supporting the BIA's affirmance of the IJ's decision. View "Loja-Paguay v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit held that petitioner's prior Texas conviction for possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver was a violation of a state law "relating to a controlled substance" as defined in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Therefore, the court held that petitioner failed to show that the BIA erred in finding that his Texas drug delivery conviction rendered him removable. The court also held that it lacked jurisdiction to review the BIA's discretionary decision to deny cancellation of removal. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's finding of removability and discretionary denial of petitioner's application for cancellation of removal. View "Padilla v. Bar" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for review of the the BIA's decision denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration after she was denied asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court held that substantial evidence supported the BIA's finding that petitioner failed to show that she was harmed on account of her membership in a particular social group—i.e., that her ex-boyfriend harmed her for being a Honduran woman unable to leave her relationship. The court also held that substantial evidence supported the IJ's finding that the Honduran police did not and would not acquiesce to petitioner's alleged torture by her ex-boyfriend. In regard to the motion for reconsideration, the court held that it had jurisdiction to entertain petitioner's argument concerning Matter of A-B-, 27 I. & N. Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018), which held that married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship did not constitute a particular social group and clarifying other points of law pertaining to asylum and withholding of removal claims. The court also held that the Grace injunction did not affect the court's ability to review A-B-, nor could it, because it did not bind courts in this circuit; the BIA correctly interpreted A-B-; A-B- was not arbitrary and capricious; and remand to the IJ was not warranted. View "Gonzales-Veliz v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Odei, a Christian pastor in Ghana and a founding member of Spirit of Grace, a U.S. nonprofit religious group, is a Ph.D. candidate in an online educational program sponsored by a Tennessee university. Spirit of Grace invited him to visit the U.S. to participate in religious activities. Odei also planned to speak at churches and youth groups, perform missionary work, and meet his academic advisors. Odei obtained a B-1/B-2 visa from the U.S. Consulate in Ghana. When Odei arrived in Chicago, Customs agents questioned him, determined that his visa was invalid for his intended missionary and academic purposes, found him inadmissible under 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(7), and canceled the visa. They did not immediately remove him because he answered “yes” when asked if he feared returning to Ghana. He was held in the McHenry County Jail. A week later Odei dropped his asylum claim. DHS allowed Odei to withdraw his application for admission and return to Ghana. Odei and Spirit sued DHS, citing the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The judge dismissed, citing 8 U.S.C. 1252(a)(2)(A), which bars judicial review of any “order of removal pursuant to” the expedited removal procedure in 8 U.S.C. 1225(b)(1)(A)(i). The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Although Odei was not subjected to expedited removal, an “order of removal” refers to both an order to remove and an order that an alien is removable. Odei challenged the latter; the jurisdictional bar applies. View "Odei v. United States Department of Homeland Security" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for judicial review of a final order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ordering Petitioner removed to his homeland of Cape Verde and denying his motions to terminate removal proceedings, holding that the BIA's order of removal was in accordance with law. On appeal, Petitioner argued that because the notice to appear (NTA) that initiated the removal proceedings against him did not include the date and time of his contemplated hearing, it was a defective charging instrument and thus ineffectual to commence removal proceedings. Consequently, Petitioner argued, the immigration court did not acquire jurisdiction over his removal proceedings and the agency's final order of removal was a nullity. The First Circuit disagreed, holding (1) Petitioner's NTA complied with the regulations as reasonably interpreted by the BIA, and therefore, the NTA was effective to confer jurisdiction upon the immigration court; (2) Petitioner's motions to terminate his removal proceedings were properly denied; and (3) the BIA's final order of removal was lawful. View "Goncalves Pontes v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Third Circuit granted a petition for review challenging the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's denial of petitioner's application for withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court held that the IJ and BIA erred in deciding that petitioner's conviction for conspiracy to commit wire fraud is a conviction for a particularly serious crime, making him ineligible for withholding of removal. In this case, the IJ and BIA failed to correctly apply the analysis articulated in In re N-A-M-, skipping right over the preliminary consideration of elements. Therefore, on remand, the agency should first determine whether the elements of petitioner's offense potentially fall within the ambit of a particularly serious crime. Only then may it proceed to consider the facts and circumstances particular to petitioner's case. The court also held that the IJ failed to observe the rule articulated in Abdulai v. Ashcroft, 239 F.3d 542, 554 (3d Cir. 2001), requiring immigration judges to notify a noncitizen in removal proceedings that he is expected to present corroborating evidence before finding that failure to present such evidence undermines his claim. Therefore, the court must remand for a new corroboration determination. View "Luziga v. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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Derivative beneficiaries of an alien entrepreneur in the immigrant investor program (EB-5 program), who receive conditional legal permanent resident status (LPR), are entitled to the same review rights in removal proceedings as the alien entrepreneur. Therefore, the Ninth Circuit held that, in removal proceedings, an IJ's failure to review the denial of an I-829 petition (even though the alien is a beneficiary of the petition) is error. In this case, the BIA erred in failing to review the denial of the petition of petitioner's father. The panel also held that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying petitioner's request for a continuance and motion to reconsider. Accordingly, the panel granted in part and denied in part petitioner's petitions for review of the BIA's decision. View "Hui Ran Mu v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Under the now-repealed 8 U.S.C. 1432(a)(2), a “child” born outside of the U.S. to noncitizen parents became a citizen upon the naturalization of her surviving parent if one of her parents was deceased. Section 1101(c)(1) defined “child” as including a child born out of wedlock only if the child was legitimated under the “law of the child’s residence or domicile” or “the law of the father’s residence or domicile . . . except as otherwise provided in” section 1432, which exempted mothers of born-out-of-wedlock children from the legitimation requirement. That affirmative steps to verify paternity, including legitimation, may be taken if a citizen-parent is an unwed father has withstood constitutional scrutiny, on the basis that the relation between a mother and a child “is verifiable from the birth.” Tineo was born in the Dominican Republic to noncitizen parents who never married. His father moved to the U.S. and naturalized. His noncitizen mother died. At the time, under the laws of either the Dominican Republic or New York, legitimation could only occur if his birth parents married. Tineo’s father was forever precluded from having his son derive citizenship through him, despite being a citizen and having cared for his son. Threatened with removal, Tineo brought a Fifth Amendment challenge on behalf of his now-deceased father. The Third Circuit held that, in this circumstance, the interplay of the statutory sections are inconsistent with the equal-protection mandate of the Due Process Clause. View "Tineo v. Attorney General United States" on Justia Law