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The First Circuit denied and dismissed Petitioner’s petition challenging the Board of Immigration Appeals’s (BIA) denial of her motion to reopen and the BIA’s decision not to exercise its sua sponte authority to reopen her case to grant her request for an adjustment of status, holding that Petitioner was not entitled to relief. Specifically, the First Circuit held (1) Petitioner’s petition for review was denied as to her challenge to the BIA’s determination that the motion to reopen was untimely; and (2) because Petitioner had no colorable constitutional or legal claim on which the Court might base jurisdiction, the petition was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction as to Petitioner’s challenge to the BIA’s decision not to exercise its authority to reopen sua sponte. View "Gyamfi v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for possessing a firearm while being an alien unlawfully in the United States. The panel assumed without deciding that unlawful aliens in the United States held some degree of rights under the Second Amendment and held that 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(5) is constitutional under intermediate scrutiny. The panel held that the government's interests in controlling crime and ensuring public safety are promoted by keeping firearms out of the hands of unlawful aliens—who are subject to removal, are difficult to monitor due to an inherent incentive to falsify information and evade law enforcement, and have already shown they are unable or unwilling to conform their conduct to the laws of this country. View "United States v. Manuel Torres" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a citizen and native of El Salvador, challenged the BIA's dismissal of his appeal of the IJ's denial of his application for withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court assumed, without deciding, that petitioner was a member of a particular social group comprised of his disabled father's immediate family members and that he suffered past persecution in El Salvador. Even with that assumption, the court held that petitioner failed to establish the requisite nexus between any persecution he suffered and his relation to his disabled father. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. View "Cortez-Mendez v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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In 2007, Oscar Almanza-Vigil pleaded guilty in Colorado state court to “selling or distributing” methamphetamine in Colorado, for which he received a four-year prison sentence. In 2009, when the state paroled him, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) initiated expedited removal proceedings against him, declaring that he had committed an aggravated felony. With that designation, he had no right to an administrative hearing before an immigration judge. Within the week, the Department of Homeland Security had issued a final administrative removal order, and ICE agents had sent Almanza-Vigil back across the border to Mexico. Six years later, border-patrol agents found Almanza-Vigil in the New Mexico desert. Charged with illegal reentry, Almanza-Vigil moved to dismiss the indictment by collaterally attacking his previous removal order and arguing, for the first time, that he never committed an aggravated felony. The Tenth Circuit determined Almanza-Vigil’s Colorado felony did not fit the Immigration and Naturalization Act's (INA) definition of an aggravated felony. But the Court also concluded he failed to demonstrate a reasonable likelihood of avoiding removal but for the erroneous classification of his conviction. Therefore, the Court affirmed Almanza-Vigil's conviction. View "United States v. Almanza-Vigil" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision denying petitioner's application for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court affirmed the BIA's adverse credibility determination and held that it was supported by substantial evidence. In this case, the BIA catalogued numerous, specific inconsistencies in petitioner's presentation, and it identified crucial omissions in statements submitted by petitioner and in third parties' supporting affidavits. Furthermore, given the reiterative content of documents and the BIA's extensive credibility assessment, the BIA did not fail to give full and fair consideration of all circumstances that gave rise to petitioner's claims. View "Ghotra v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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Yafai and Ahmed were born, raised, and married in Yemen. Yafai became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2001 and successfully filed I‐130 petitions on behalf of his wife and several of their children. Ahmed and her children subsequently applied for visas. The consular officer denied Ahmed’s visa application, citing 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(6)(E), which provides that “[a]ny alien who at any time knowingly has encouraged, induced, assisted, abetted, or aided any other alien to enter or to try to enter the United States in violation of law is inadmissible.” The denial stated that she attempted to smuggle two children into the U.S. using the identities Yaqub and Khaled. Yafai and Ahmed apparently argued that Ahmed could not be guilty of smuggling, because the children whom she had allegedly smuggled were deceased. Ahmed provided: vaccination records, Khaled’s school records, hospital bills, hospital birth records, the police report from the drowning accident, Khaled’s passport, and family photos. An embassy fraud prevention manager found the their testimony not credible and initiated an investigation. Several months later, the consular officer reaffirmed the prior visa denial. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a suit by Yafai and Ahment. The decision is facially legitimate and bona fide, so the doctrine of consular nonreviewability applies. View "Yafai v. Pompeo" on Justia Law

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Ku, a citizen of Taiwan, was admitted to the U.S. in 1997 and became a lawful permanent resident in 2002. In 2014, Ku was charged with a single count of wire fraud. Ku waived her right to an indictment and was charged by information, which alleged that Ku was managing the finances of her in-laws and defrauded her in-laws by making personal use of their accounts. The BIA determined that Ku had committed an aggravated felony under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(M)(i) because that prior conviction constituted an offense involving fraud or deceit in which the loss to the victims exceeded $10,000 and that the conviction constituted a “crime involving moral turpitude” under 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) such that, without a waiver, she is ineligible for an adjustment of status. The BIA reversed the Immigration Judge, who had granted Ku a waiver of inadmissibility under 8 U.S.C. 1182(h)(1)(B) based on the extreme hardship that her deportation would cause her U.S.-citizen children. The Third Circuit rejected Ku’s petition for review. The loss to the victims, over $10,000, was sufficiently tethered to Ku’s conviction that the conviction qualifies as an aggravated felony; wire fraud constitutes a crime of moral turpitude. The court noted that it lacked jurisdiction to review the discretionary waiver of admissibility. View "Ku v. Attorney General United States" on Justia Law

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United States Border Patrol agents found Defendant-appellant John Hargrove, his girlfriend Janelle Richter, and Edgar Silvas-Hinojos in the desert near the border between Arizona and New Mexico. They were all in Hargrove’s truck, along with nearly 300 pounds of marijuana and two firearms. Hargrove was charged with: (1) conspiracy to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana; and (2) possession with the intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of marijuana, and aiding and abetting said possession. Hargrove was convicted by jury on both charges and sentenced to sixty months’ imprisonment. On appeal, Hargrove argued: (1) the district court erred in failing to grant him a mistrial after the prosecutor elicited testimony that the district court had previously barred; and (2) the district court erred in failing to grant him safety-valve relief under section 5C1.2 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines. Finding no reversible error, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court in all respects. View "United States v. Hargrove" on Justia Law

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Beltran-Aguilar, a citizen of Mexico, applied for cancellation of removal. The BIA affirmed the denial of his application. The Seventh Circuit denied a petition for review. Beltran-Aguilar’s conviction for Wisconsin battery involving domestic abuse was a crime of domestic violence, rendering him ineligible for cancellation of removal under 8 U.S.C. 1229b(b)(1)(C). A “crime of violence” is “an offense that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another,” 18 U.S.C. 16(a). The elements of the crime for which a defendant was convicted, not his underlying conduct, are determinative. Beltran-Aguilar was convicted under Wisconsin Statute 940.19(1), which prohibits “caus[ing] bodily harm to another by an act done with intent to cause bodily harm to that person or another without the consent of the person so harmed.” “Bodily harm” means “physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.” Rejecting an argument that certain types of non-qualifying conduct theoretically might be prosecuted under the statute, the court stated that there must be “a realistic probability, not a theoretical possibility," that the state would prosecute conduct that falls outside the generic definition of a crime. Beltran-Aguilar has not identified any case in which Wisconsin’s definition of “bodily harm” has been applied in a way that does not accord with precedent defining crimes of violence. View "Beltran-Aguilar v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's denial of petitioner's application for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture. Petitioner, a native and citizen of Cameroon, claimed that he was persecuted on account of his political opinion based on his membership in the Southern Cameroon National Council. The court held that there was no basis for granting the petition for review where the undisputed harm petitioner claimed to have suffered did not rise to the level of persecution; petitioner lacked a well-founded fear of future persecution; and petitioner could not meet the more rigorous burdens for CAT relief. View "Njong v. Whitaker" on Justia Law