Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

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The Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded the district court's dismissal of a 2018 indictment charging defendant with illegal reentry in violation of 8 U.S.C. 1326. The court agreed with the government's contention that the district court erred in sustaining defendant's collateral attack on his underlying 2013 deportation order and dismissing the 2018 illegal-reentry indictment. In this case, the district court found that the IJ and the BIA erroneously classified bail jumping as an aggravated felony and the error led the IJ not to consider defendant's claims for asylum and withholding of removal. The court disagreed with the district court for two reasons: first, the district court diluted the actual prejudice standard; and second, applying the correct actual-prejudice standard, the record foreclosed any notion that defendant likely would have escaped deportation either through asylum or withholding of removal. The court saw nothing in the record indicating that defendant was likely eligible for asylum or withholding of removal. Therefore, even assuming the IJ and BIA erred in classifying defendant's bail jumping conviction as an aggravated felony, defendant still could not show actual prejudice under section 1326(d). View "United States v. Ramirez-Cortinas" on Justia Law

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Defendant-appellant Robert Vivar pled guilty to possession of materials with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine. Defendant was placed on probation for three years, and as a condition of probation was to serve one year in county jail. He also received a referral to the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) program. Shortly after his release, defendant was removed from the country as a consequence of his plea. Over a decade later, defendant filed a motion to vacate his conviction pursuant to Penal Code section 1473.7. The trial court denied defendant’s motion. On appeal, defendant argued the trial court erred in denying his motion to vacate his guilty plea because his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to investigate and advise defendant of the immigration consequences of his plea and for failing to defend or mitigate the judgment. Defendant also argued that his plea must be vacated because it was legally invalid. Finding no reversible error, the Court of Appeal affirmed. View "California v. Vivar" on Justia Law

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Notwithstanding a district court's release order pursuant to the Bail Reform Act (BRA), the government has the authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to detain a criminal defendant who is an alien in the course of an administrative removal proceeding. The Second Circuit vacated the district court's dismissal of an indictment against defendant with prejudice. The court held that the district court's bail release order under the BRA did not preclude the government from detaining defendant under the INA as an inadmissible alien subject to removal. The court found defendant's arguments to the contrary unavailing. View "United States v. Lett" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's denial of asylum and related relief. The panel held that an asylum officer's credibility conclusion could not support an adverse credibility finding. In this case, the agency legally erred by relying on the asylum officer's assessment of petitioner's credibility. The panel also held that, where, as here, petitioner's testimony was consistent with, but more detailed than, her asylum application, petitioner's testimony is not per se lacking in credibility. Therefore, the finding that petitioner was less credible merely because her statement did not note the specific date the abortion occurred or the names of the family planning director and hospital staff was unreasonable. The panel also held that petitioner's testimony about the asylum interview did not support the adverse credibility finding; the IJ's speculation that petitioner was in fact still living in Indiana was not a sufficient basis for an adverse credibility finding; the BIA impermissibly engaged in factfinding; and petitioner was entitled to notice and an opportunity to produce corroborating evidence or explain why it was unavailable. View "Lizhi Qiu v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision denying petitioners' request for humanitarian asylum. Petitioners, seeking asylum for themselves and their children, contend that the district court erred in requiring that they show past persecution on account of a protected ground as a prerequisite for obtaining humanitarian asylum. The court held that petitioner's argument was foreclosed by this court's existing precedent in Kanagu v. Holder, 781 F.3d 912 (8th Cir. 2015), which held that the petitioner's failure to prove persecution on a protected ground made him ineligible for humanitarian asylum. Therefore, the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying petitioners' requested relief. View "Mejia-Lopez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied the petition filed by Petitioner, a native and citizen of China, seeking review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying as untimely Petitioner's motion to reopen her earlier removal proceedings, holding that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying Petitioner's motion. Petitioner sought to reopen her earlier removal proceedings alleging that changed country conditions in China regarding religious persecution would impact her given her recent conversion to Christianity. The BIA denied the motion to reopen, finding that it was time-barred and that the evidence did not support an exception to the time limits. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in finding that Petitioner's motion to reopen removal proceedings was time-barred. View "Lin v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied petitions for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's denial of petitioner's application of withholding of removal under section 241(b)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The court held that substantial evidence supported the finding that petitioner failed to establish a clear probability that he would suffer persecution in Mexico on account of his membership in the de la Rosa family. Therefore, the court found that the IJ and the BIA did not err in denying petitioner's application for withholding of removal. Because the IJ and the BIA did not err in finding that petitioner failed to show a likelihood of persecution on account of membership in a particular social group, the court need not address the argument that the IJ and the BIA erred in finding that petitioner failed to establish that the Mexican government is unable or unwilling to protect him. View "De La Rosa Garcia v. Barr" on Justia Law

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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