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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision concluding that petitioner's conviction for misdemeanor domestic violence assault under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1203 and 13-3601 was a crime of domestic violence under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(E), and thus rendered him removeable. The panel held that the statute was divisible and, under the modified categorical approach, there was a sufficient factual basis to support that petitioner intentionally or knowingly caused any physical injury to his spouse. Therefore, petitioner's misdemeanor domestic violence conviction was a crime of domestic violence under section 1227(a)(2)(E), and he was removeable. View "Cornejo-Villagrana v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit granted the petition for review of the BIA's decision ordering petitioner removed to her native El Salvador. The court held that petitioner credibly testified by affidavit that MS-13 threatened and extorted her after her father left El Salvador; MS-13 threatened to kill her children if she did not meet the gang's demands; and she felt terrorized by the threats and fears for her safety and the safety of her children. The court also held that petitioner was persecuted on account of her family membership. Because the BIA did not reach the issue of whether the Salvadoran government was either unwilling or unable to control the gang members who threatened the family, the court remanded for the BIA to consider this factual issue in the first instance. The court vacated the BIA's order denying withholding of removal and remanded. View "Zavaleta-Policiano v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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Petitioner Liying Qiu, a native and citizen of the People’s Republic of China, sought asylum and withholding of removal based on her status as a Christian who did not agree with China’s state-sanctioned version of Christianity, and as a woman who violated China’s one-child policy by having three children. Her application was denied by the immigration court in 2011, and the Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed that decision in March 2013. In December 2015, Petitioner filed a motion to reopen based on the significantly increased persecution of Christians in China in 2014 and 2015. The BIA denied her motion to reopen as untimely. Amongst the evidence submitted in support of her application, Petitioner submitted a portion of the 2015 annual report issued by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, bipartisan U.S. government entity that monitored religious freedom violations globally and made policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. The BIA held that Petitioner had not submitted sufficient evidence to show a change in country conditions, and thus that her motion to reopen was untimely under 8 U.S.C. 1229a(c)(7)(C). The Tenth Circuit found the BIA abused its discretion in denying Petitioner's application: "surely Congress did not intend for 8 U.S.C. 1229a(c)(7)(C) to protect only petitioners who file frivolous asylum applications under no threat of persecution, while extending no help to petitioners who seek reopening after an existing pattern of persecution becomes dramatically worse. The BIA’s reasoning would lead to an absurd result, one we cannot condone." The Court held that a significant increase in the level of persecution constituted a material change in country conditions for purposes of 8 U.S.C. 1229a(c)(7)(C) and that the BIA abuses its discretion when it fails to assess and consider a petitioner’s evidence that the persecution of others in his protected category has substantially worsened since the initial application. The Court concluded the BIA provided no rational, factually supported reason for denying Petitioner’s motion to reopen, and accordingly remanded this case back to the BIA for further consideration. View "Qiu v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit sidestepped the government’s challenge to its jurisdiction in this immigration case and held that, even if it did have jurisdiction to consider Petitioner’s appeal challenging the Board of Immigration Appeals’s (BIA) denial of his motion to exercise its sua sponte authority to reopen Petitioner’s case and grant his request for cancellation of removal, it must still deny the petition. Specifically, the court held (1) Petitioner’s translation-based due process claim failed because Petitioner did not show that “a more proficient or more accurate interpretation would likely have made a dispositive difference in the outcome of the proceedinng” and because the claim found next to no support in the record; and (2) Petitioner failed to state a colorable due process claim as to his second allegation of error. View "Ramirez Matias v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed Defendant’s convictions on one count of identity theft and two counts of making a false information for using another person’s Social Security number to obtain restaurant employment, holding that Defendant’s prosecution based on his use of a Social Security number belonging to another person for employment was expressly preempted by the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), 8 U.S.C. 1324a(b)(5). In reversing Defendant's convictions, the court relied on State v. Garcia, __ P.3d __ (this day decided), which held that state prosecutions such as the one in this case are expressly preempted by IRCA. View "State v. Morales" on Justia Law

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R-S-C illegally reentered the United States after having been removed and her prior removal order was reinstated, thus under the Attorney General’s interpretation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), she could not apply for asylum. She challenged the Attorney General’s regulations as inconsistent with the INA’s asylum guarantee. The Tenth Circuit concluded Congress had not clearly expressed whether aliens governed by the reinstatement provision could apply for asylum. However, the Attorney General’s regulations were consistent with a reasonable interpretation of the statutory scheme, so they are entitled to administrative deference. Accordingly, the Court denied the petition for review. View "R-S-C v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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Mateo, a 21-year-old citizen of the Dominican Republic, was admitted to the U.S. in 2010 as a lawful permanent resident. In 2013, he pleaded guilty to the felony charge of criminal conspiracy for an underlying offense Robbery of a Motor Vehicle. A “person commits a felony of the first degree if he steals or takes a motor vehicle from another person in the presence of that person or any other person in lawful possession of the motor vehicle.” Mateo was charged as removable as an alien convicted of an aggravated felony under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A). DHS stated that his conviction constituted an aggravated felony under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii), and was a “crime of violence” as defined in 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(F), which incorporates 18 U.S.C. 16, which defines “crime of violence” as (a) an offense that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, or (b) any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense. The Third Circuit vacated Mateo’s removal order, holding that, in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Johnson v. United States (2015), section 16(b), as incorporated, is unconstitutionally vague. View "Mateo v. Attorney General United States" on Justia Law

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The Board of Immigration Appeals found that Uddin, a citizen of Bangladesh, was ineligible for withholding of removal because he was a member of the Bangladesh National Party (BNP). The Board found that the BNP qualified as a Tier III terrorist organization under the “terrorism bar,” 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)(B)(vi)(III). The Third Circuit denied relief with respect to the Board’s ruling dismissing Uddin’s Convention Against Torture claim but remanded his withholding of removal claim. The Board pointed to terrorist acts by BNP members but it did not find that BNP leadership authorized any of the terrorist acts committed by party members. The court joined the reasoning of the Seventh Circuit and the Board in many of its own opinions by holding that unless the agency finds that party leaders authorized terrorist acts committed by its members, an entity such as the BNP cannot be deemed a Tier III terrorist organization. View "Uddin v. Attorney General United States" on Justia Law

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Petitioner sought to adjust his immigration status to that of a lawful permanent resident, but in order to do so, he needed to prove that at least one of the two visa petitions he filed prior to 2001 was approvable when filed, even though both were ultimately denied. USCIS rejected plaintiff's application to adjust his status because the petitions were denied on their merits and because there was no allegation that the petitions were denied on the basis of circumstances that changed between the time when they were filed and the time when they were adjudicated. The panel affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to USCIS, holding that the district court correctly concluded that USCIS was permitted to treat prior merits-based denials of plaintiff's visa petitions as dispositive proof that the petitions were not approvable when filed. View "Hsiao v. Hazuda" on Justia Law

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Petitioner sought review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's denial of petitioner's application for cancellation of removal. The Fifth Circuit denied the petition for review, holding that because petitioner was sentenced to a "term of imprisonment of at least one year," the BIA did not err in determining that his aggravated-assault conviction was an aggravated felony that made him ineligible for cancellation of removal. View "Calvillo Garcia v. Sessions" on Justia Law