Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

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Petitioner petitioned the Eleventh Circuit a second time to review the BIA's final order of removal. The court had granted in part petitioner's first petition challenging the classification of his prior conviction for aggravated battery with a firearm as an aggravated felony under the residual clause definition of a crime of violence. The court held that the residual clause was void for vagueness under Sessions v. Dimaya, 138 S. Ct. 1204, 1210 (2018), and granted the petition. On remand, the BIA classified petitioner's prior conviction as an aggravated felony under the elements clause of the definition of a crime of violence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 16(a). The court denied in part and dismissed in part the second petition, holding that petitioner's arguments -- that the Florida statute defining aggravated battery is indivisible and that the offense does not constitute a crime of violence -- are foreclosed by precedent. The court also held that it lacked jurisdiction over petitioner's argument that the BIA should review his application for deferral of removal, because petitioner failed to challenge the denial of his application in his appeal to the BIA. View "Lukaj v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting a preliminary injunction ordering the United States to provide bond hearings to a class of noncitizens who were detained after entering the United States and were found by an asylum officer to have a credible fear of persecution. The panel held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in applying the Winter factors and concluding that plaintiffs were likely to prevail on the merits of their due process claim regarding the availability of bond hearings; in concluding that plaintiffs would suffer irreparable harm absent the grant of a preliminary injunction; and in determining that the balance of the equities and public interest favors plaintiffs with respect to Part B of the preliminary injunction. Therefore, the panel affirmed the district court's order in part. The panel held that the record was insufficient to support Part A of the preliminary injunction order for the required bond hearings, and remanded for further findings and reconsideration with respect to the particular process due to plaintiffs. The panel also held that 8 U.S.C. 1252(f)(1) did not bar the district court from granting preliminary injunctive relief for this class of noncitizens, each of whom is an individual noncitizen against whom removal proceedings have been initiated. Finally, the panel held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting a preliminary injunction with respect to the nationwide class. View "Padilla v. Immigration and Customs Enforcement" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied petitions for review challenging the BIA's interpretation of the Supreme Court's decision in Esquivel–Quintana v. Sessions, 137 S. Ct. 1562 (2017). Petitioner asked the BIA to reopen his proceedings under 8 C.F.R. 1003.2 and 8 U.S.C. 1229a(c)(7), contending that Esquivel–Quintana narrowed what crimes qualify as "sexual abuse of a minor." The court held that the time for filing a motion to reopen was not equitably tolled and thus petitioner's motion was untimely. In this case, petitioner did not raise a colorable constitutional claim, so under currently existing law, the court could not review the BIA's decision not to reopen his case on its own motion. The court declined to recognize a second exception permitting appellate review when the Board relies "on an incorrect legal premise." View "Chong Toua Vue v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's ruling that petitioner's conviction for sexual misconduct, N.Y. Penal Law 130.20, qualifies, under the modified categorical approach, as the aggravated felony of rape, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(A), and a crime involving moral turpitude. Because the record of conviction does not make clear whether petitioner pleaded guilty to forcible or statutory rape, the court need not decide whether the New York statute is divisible as between those two different kinds of rape or whether the criminal complaint is a valid Shepard document. The court explained that, even if it were to resolve both issues in the department's favor, the criminal complaint would still fail to establish that petitioner pleaded guilty to forcible rape. Furthermore, the board failed to address whether statutory rape is a crime involving moral turpitude, so the court does not address that issue. Nor does the court need to address petitioner's alternative argument that he is eligible for a discretionary waiver of deportation even if he is removable. The court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "George v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the order of the district court denying Appellant's application for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, ruling that holding individuals pursuant to a federal civil immigration detainer request is an arrest under Montana law and that a detainer request is not an arrest warrant and does not compel the re-arrest of a person otherwise entitled to release. Plaintiff was arrested and booked into county jail. When Plaintiff attempted to post his bond, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Border Patrol) sent the jail a civil immigration detainer request under the Immigration and Nationality Act and informed the bond company that the sheriff would continue to detain Plaintiff. Consequently, Plaintiff's bondsman declined to post his bond, and Plaintiff was not released. Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging that the sheriff violated Montana law in honoring the Border Patrol's request. The district court ruled against Plaintiff. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that Plaintiff's continued detention for a new purpose when he was otherwise entitled to release was an arrest under Montana law, and the sheriff lacked state arrest authority to detain Plaintiff on the basis of his potential removal under federal immigration law. View "Ramon v. Short" on Justia Law

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Jose Angel Banuelos-Galviz (Banuelos) entered the United States in 2006. Roughly three years later, he was served with a document labeled “Notice to Appear.” By statute, a notice to appear must include the time of the removal hearing. But Banuelos’s document did not tell him the date or time of the hearing, so the immigration court later sent him a notice of hearing with this information. Banuelos then sought asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. The immigration judge rejected each request, and Banuelos appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals. While the administrative appeal was pending, the Supreme Court decided Pereira v. Sessions, which held that the stop-time rule was not triggered by a notice to appear that omitted the time of the removal hearing. Because Banuelos’s notice to appear lacked both the date and time, he moved for a remand so that the immigration judge could consider his request for cancellation of removal. To qualify for cancellation of removal, Banuelos needed to show continuous presence in the United States for at least ten years. His ability to satisfy this requirement turned on whether the combination of the deficient notice to appear and notice of hearing had triggered the "stop-time rule." If the stop-time rule had been triggered, Banuelos would have had only about three years of continuous presence. But if the stop-time rule had not been triggered, Banuelos’s continuous presence would have exceeded the ten-year minimum. The Board held that the stop-time rule had been triggered because the combination of the two documents—the incomplete notice to appear and the notice of hearing with the previously omitted information—was the equivalent of a complete notice to appear. Given this application of the rule, the Board found that Banuelos’s period of continuous presence had been too short to qualify for cancellation of removal. So the Board denied his motion to remand. Given the unambiguous language of the pertinent statutes, the Tenth Circuit determined the stop-time rule was not triggered by the combination of an incomplete notice to appear and a notice of hearing. The Court thus granted the petition for review and remanded to the Board for further proceedings. View "Banuelos-Galviz v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Manriquez-Alvarado, a citizen of Mexico, has repeatedly entered the U.S. illegally. He was ordered removed in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2017, each time following a criminal conviction. He was found in the U.S. again in 2018 and was sentenced to 39 months' imprisonment for illegal reentry. 8 U.S.C. 1326(a), (b)(2). All of the convictions for reentry rest on the 2008 removal order. Manriquez-Alvarado argued that this order was invalid because immigration officials never had “jurisdiction” to remove him. His “Notice to Appear” did not include a hearing date. In 2018, the Supreme Court held (Pereira) that a document missing that information does not satisfy the statutory requirements. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the denial of his motion to dismiss. Pereira identifies a claims-processing doctrine, not a rule limiting immigration officials' jurisdiction. Older removal orders are pen to collateral attack if the alien exhausted any administrative remedies that may have been available; the deportation proceedings improperly deprived the alien of the opportunity for judicial review; and the order was fundamentally unfair, 8 U.S.C.1326(d). In 2008, Manriquez-Alvarado stipulated to his removal, waiving his rights to a hearing, administrative review, and judicial review. The statute does not ask whether administrative and judicial remedies would have been futile. It asks whether they were available. Manriquez-Alvarado’s removal was the result of his criminal conduct; he lacked permission to enter the U.S. at all. It is not unfair to order such an alien's deportation. View "United States v. Manriquez-Alvarado" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court ruling in favor of the Rhode Island municipalities on their suit seeking to invalidate the conditions that the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) imposed on the cities in connection with the allocation of federal law enforcement grants, holding that the DOJ lacked authority to imposed the challenged conditions. When state and local governments refused to assist wholeheartedly in federal enforcement of immigration-related laws, the DOJ purposed to condition unrelated federal law enforcement grants on the provision of the governments' assistance with the enforcement of the immigration-related laws. Two Rhode Island cities - Providence and Central Falls - brought this suit seeking to enjoin the DOJ from imposing the challenged conditions on their grants. The district court granted summary judgment for the Cities, concluding that the DLJ exceeded its statutory authority in imposing the challenge conditions on the grants. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the DOJ was not vested with the authority to impose the challenged conditions on the Cities' grants. View "City of Providence v. United States Department of Justice" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a legal permanent resident, sought review of an agency order of removal based on a finding that he committed an "aggravated felony" within the meaning of 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(G). Under section 1101(a)(43)(G), to establish an aggravated felony, the government must show by clear and convincing evidence that a noncitizen committed a "theft offense" that resulted in a term of imprisonment of "at least one year." Petitioner was a member of the U.S. Army when he pleaded guilty to four violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), one of which was larceny of military property. Under the military's customary practice of unitary sentencing at the time, the military judge issued a general sentence that imposed a punishment for all four of petitioner's convictions for 30 months' confinement. The Second Circuit held that, under the military's traditional unitary sentencing scheme, a military judgment in which a single sentence of confinement is imposed in connection with multiple counts of conviction may not be presumed to be equivalent to equal, full‐term, concurrent sentences as to each count of conviction. Because the government has not carried its burden, the court granted the petition for review and remanded for further proceedings. View "Persad v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Center lodged a FOIA request with the Department of Justice (DOJ) for records of communications between the Attorney General, the Office of the Attorney General and any Office of Immigration Litigation or Office of the Solicitor General lawyers related to 11 certified cases decided in 2002-2009. DOJ produced about 1,000 pages but withheld 4,000 pages, citing FOIA Exemption 5, which allows the withholding of agency memoranda not subject to disclosure in the ordinary course of litigation, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(5). Exemption 5 encompasses the attorney work product, attorney-client, and deliberative process privileges. DOJ submitted a Vaughn index describing each document withheld, identifying documents reflecting discussions between attorneys working within different offices of issues related to immigration cases under consideration or on certification for decision by the Attorney General. The Center unsuccessfully argued that the documents contained ex parte communications outside Exemption 5's scope because the DOJ attorneys’ eventual litigation role taints the advice they provide the Attorney General at the certification stage; removal proceedings end in federal court litigation where those same attorneys are opposite the immigrant. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The Office of Immigration Litigation and Solicitor General attorneys do not hold interests adverse to the noncitizen at the stage at which the Attorney General certifies a case for decision. “ To conclude otherwise would chill the deliberations that department and agency heads like the Attorney General undertake in confidence to execute the weighty responsibilities of their offices.” View "National Immigrant Justice Center v. United States Department of Justice" on Justia Law