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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition seeking judicial review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissing his application for asylum, holding that substantial evidence supported the BIA’s determination that Petitioner was not entitled to asylum. Petitioner premised his asylum application on a claim that he had been persecuted in the past, and feared future persecution, by gang members on account of of his political opinion and/or membership in a particular social group. The immigration judge (IJ) rejected Petitioner’s request for asylum. The BIA upheld the IJ’s findings, determining that Petitioner had failed to establish a nexus between the harm that he described and any statutorily protected ground for asylum status. The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for judicial review, holding that Scatambuli v. Holder, 558 F.3d 53, 59 (1st Cir. 2009), controlled the outcome of this case, requiring that this Court uphold the BIA’s determination. View "Mendez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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Liao, a citizen of China, became a lawful U.S. permanent resident in 2005. In 2015, Liao had a physical altercation with his girlfriend, Yu. A neighbor called the police. Yu told responding officers that she was holding her infant son, J.Y., while Liao struck her, but that J.Y. was not “hit or hurt.” She said, however, that during the fight, J.Y. was placed on the bed and fell to the floor. Officers arrested Liao, charging him with three offenses, including endangering the welfare of a child, Pa. Cons. Stat. 4304(a)(1). Liao was convicted and served 106 days of his prison sentence. An IJ ordered Liao’s removal for committing “a crime of domestic violence, a crime of stalking, or a crime of child abuse, child neglect, or child abandonment,” which rendered him removable under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(E)(i). The Third Circuit granted a petition for review and remanded to the BIA, reasoning that the elements of his conviction do not match the elements of the crime of “child abuse” under federal law, which requires a specified risk of harm that rises above conduct that creates only the bare potential for non-serious harm. The Pennsylvania child endangerment statute in effect at the time of Liao’s conviction did not require such a risk. View "Liao v. Attorney General United States" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's determination that petitioner was removable under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) based on his commission of a crime involving moral turpitude within five years of his admission to the United States. The court explained that it was DHS's burden to affirmatively prove (by clear and convincing evidence) that petitioner last entered in 2000 without inspection, and was therefore not admitted until 2008, because this determined whether his 2012 felony abduction offense fell within the five-year window for removability. The court held that DHS failed to prove that petitioner was admitted in 2008. In this case, the record contained essentially unrebutted evidence showing that petitioner was in Peru from 1999 to 2001, and that he presented himself for inspection and was allowed to enter the United States at Reagan National Airport in 2002 (whether on a visa or otherwise). View "Mauricio-Vasquez v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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Veloz-Alonso, a citizen of Mexico, entered the U.S. illegally in the 1990s. He was removed in 1997, 1999, and 2008. In 2018, Veloz-Alonso was discovered again and was indicted for illegal reentry. He pleaded guilty and sought release on bail pending sentencing. Under the Bail Reform Act (BRA), a defendant pleading guilty must be detained unless the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that he is not a flight risk or a danger to the community, 18 U.S.C. 3143(a)(1). The government argued that Veloz-Alonso was subject to an order of removal and an ICE detainer, so that, if released, he would be taken into custody, removed, and unable to attend a sentencing hearing. The court granted the motion subject to electronic monitoring and a property lien on his house. The court ordered the government, under threat of contempt, “to refrain from detaining or deporting the Defendant while he is released pending sentencing.” The Sixth Circuit reversed. While deportable aliens are not per se ineligible for bail, the district court incorrectly inferred that an alien released on bail is ineligible for ICE detention. Reading the BRA’s permissive use of release to supersede the Immigration and Naturalization Act’s mandatory detention would be incongruent with canons of statutory interpretation. To the extent that ICE may fulfill its statutory mandates without impairing the purpose of the BRA, there is no statutory conflict. View "United States v. Veloz-Alonso" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision denying petitioner's motion to reconsider the BIA's previous order denying him a discretionary adjustment of status. The court noted that it had jurisdiction to review the petition for abuse of discretion. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion for reconsideration. In this case, the BIA satisfied its obligation to provide a "rational explanation" for its original decision to deny petitioner relief when it denied his motion to reconsider. In this case, the BIA's explanation that it did not violate the clear error standard of review in its weighing of the attempted suicide of one of petitioner's victims qualified as a "rational explanation." View "Camacho v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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8 U.S.C. 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) is unconstitutionally overbroad in violation of the First Amendment because it criminalizes a substantial amount of protected expression in relation to the statute's narrow legitimate sweep. Subsection (iv) permits a felony prosecution of any person who "encourages or induces" an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States if the encourager knew, or recklessly disregarded the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law. The Ninth Circuit reversed defendant's conviction with respect to the "encourage or induce" counts. The panel affirmed with respect to the mail fraud counts in a memorandum disposition. View "United States v. Sineneng-Smith" on Justia Law

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Tairou was born in Benin in 1977. Although Tairou married a woman, he testified that in 2007, he “figured out [he] was a homosexual” and entered into a relationship with a man. Despite the general secrecy surrounding their relationship, the men were openly affectionate in front of Tairou’s cousin, who took pictures. Tairou was subsequently confronted by a group of approximately 40 men, including his uncles, cousins, ministers from the mosque, and other villagers. The crowd threatened and harassed him for five hours. In Tairou’s declaration attached to his asylum application, he asserted that several people said that he “should die,” and some "outright threatened to kill [him].” A week later, Tairou’s cousins forced their way into his home and beat him, threatening to “kill [him], to shame [him] publicly again,” and to harm his wife and children. Tairou’s son sustained head and arm injuries trying to protect his father. The Fourth Circuit remanded a removal order. The BIA erred in finding that Tairou was not subjected to past persecution. Binding precedent explicitly holds that a threat of death constitutes persecution. Tairou established that he was subjected to past persecution; the BIA must consider whether, in light of Tairou’s demonstrated past persecution, he has a well-founded fear of future persecution. View "Tairou v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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In 2013, the Tydingco family traveled from their home in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to China, Lili’s native country. Lili is a legal U.S. permanent resident through her marriage to Frank. In China, X.N.’s father asked them to take 10-year-old X.N., a Chinese national, to attend school. A friend told Lili that it was possible to bring X.N. to the U.S. The CNMI's “parole” program, designed to support its tourism industry, allows Chinese and Russian nationals to enter the CNMI without a visa and stay for up to 45 days. At Saipan immigration control, Lili presented a notarized letter from X.N.’s parents stating that the Tydingcos would be X.N.’s guardians during her studies. The officer told Lili to get the letter stamped at the local police station, but otherwise said nothing about X.N.’s attending school on Saipan. They showed proof that X.N. had a return flight to China on October 28, 2013. The officer stamped X.N.’s passport that X.N. had to leave the CNMI by November 4. The Tydingcos enrolled X.N. in public school. Lili did not apply for a student visa for X.N. because the school never requested one. X.N. left the Tydingcos in February 2015. Lili voluntarily spoke to a DHS agent and signed a written statement, acknowledging that she “had [X.N.]’s passport and saw the I-94 showing she was paroled in until November 2013.” The Ninth Circuit reversed their convictions for harboring an illegal alien, 8 U.S.C. 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii). The instruction defining “harbor” erroneously did not require the jury to find that they intended to violate the law. The instruction defining “reckless disregard” erroneously did not require the jury to find that Lili subjectively drew an inference that the alien was in the U.S. unlawfully and may have affected the outcome. View "United States v. Tydingco" on Justia Law

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Salmoran, a citizen of Mexico, was granted lawful permanent resident status in 2004. In 2015, he pled guilty to violation of New Jersey Statutes 2C:24- 4(b)(5)(b): Any person who knowingly possesses or knowingly views any photograph, film, videotape, computer program or file, video game or any other reproduction or reconstruction which depicts a child engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act, including on the Internet, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. DHS charged Salmoran as removable for having been convicted of: the aggravated felony crime of sexual abuse of a minor; an offense relating to child pornography; and a crime of child abuse, child neglect, or child abandonment. The BIA held that the conviction “categorically constitutes a crime of child abuse," so as to subject him to removal (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(I), 1227(a)(2)(E)(i)) but did not address whether the conviction was categorically an aggravated felony for an offense relating to child pornography, rejected Salmoran’s argument that the state statute was broader than the federal offense, and found that Salmoran was “statutorily precluded from applying for cancellation of removal. The Third Circuit remanded. The conviction qualifies as a crime of child abuse, but does not qualify as an aggravated felony relating to child pornography; while Salmoran is removable, he may still file an application for cancellation of removal. View "Salmoran v. Attorney General United States" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a citizen of Poland, is married to a lawful U.S. permanent resident; their son is a U.S. citizen. Petitioner last entered the U.S., to remain, in 1999. In 2016, DHS charged Petitioner under 8 U.S.C 1182(a)(6)(A)(i) as an alien present without being admitted or paroled. Petitioner sought cancellation of removal. An IJ denied Petitioner’s application, finding that Petitioner was a “habitual drunkard” under 8 U.S.C. 1101(f)(1) and unable to prove that he was a person of “good moral character” during the 10-year period before his application, 8 U.S.C. 1229b(b)(1). The IJ relied on evidence that Petitioner had been convicted five times for drunk driving and once as a “Disorderly Person” related to being drunk in public. Three of the DUI convictions fell outside the 10-year period. The IJ cited Petitioner’s high blood alcohol levels at the time of his arrests as evidence of Petitioner’s high tolerance, and testimony that he was an alcoholic. Petitioner had also been confined in a penal institution for longer than allowed by 8 U.S.C. 1101(f)(7). The BIA dismissed Petitioner’s appeal. The Sixth Circuit denied a petition for review. Because Petitioner is a deportable alien with an interest only in discretionary relief, he may not bring a void-for-vagueness challenge to the “habitual drunkard” provision under the Due Process Clause. Rejecting an equal protection claim, the court stated that there is a rational basis for saying that a “habitual drunkard” lacks “good moral character.” View "Tomaszczuk v. Whitaker" on Justia Law