Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

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Whether a conviction for a particular state offense qualifies as a basis for removability as an aggravated felony under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii) is a question of law under de novo review. The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's final order of removal. The BIA granted DHS's appeal of an IJ's order granting petitioner deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The Eighth Circuit held that defendant's conviction for willful injury causing bodily harm was a crime of violence in satisfaction of 18 U.S.C. 16(a) and a valid basis for removal under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii) because it was impossible to cause bodily injury without applying the force necessary to cause the injury. The court held that the BIA conducted a logical, clear error analysis and reached a permissible conclusion. View "Jima v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Lopez was born in Mexico in 1974, His mother, born in Mexico, acquired U.S. citizenship at birth through her mother. Mother entered the U.S. in 1978 and received a certificate of citizenship in 1990. Lopez was admitted to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident in 1985. In 2009, he was convicted of drug crimes and was sentenced to 122 months’ imprisonment. In 2018, DHS began removal proceedings, alleging that Lopez was removable under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii); (a)(2)(B)(i). Lopez maintained that the law at the time of his birth (8 U.S.C. 1401; 1431–32) that prevented him from automatically deriving citizenship violated the Equal Protection Clause. The law denied automatic citizenship to children born abroad to one citizen non-resident parent and one noncitizen parent unless the citizen parent met a physical presence requirement. An IJ declined to consider the equal protection challenge and ruled that Lopez was removable. The BIA affirmed. The Seventh Circuit denied a petition for review, finding that the statute has a rational basis, so there is no equal protection violation. Lopez did not maintain that he is a member of a suspect or protected class or that his fundamental rights were at stake. The legislation was aimed at preventing the perpetuation of U.S. citizenship by citizens born abroad who remain there, or who may have been born in the U.S. but who go abroad as infants and do not return to this country. View "Ramos v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Petitioners appealed the BIA's denial of their motion to reconsider the IJ's denial of their applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The Eighth Circuit held that circuit precedent, Ali v. Barr, 924 F.3d 983 (8th Cir. 2019), foreclosed petitioners' claim that the IJ lacked jurisdiction over their removal proceedings because the proceedings commenced with notices to appear that did not specify the date or time of their removal hearings. The court also held that the filing of a motion to reconsider does not toll the time for appeal of the underlying order; the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to reconsider where the agency applied the proper standard and considered petitioners' contentions; and the BIA did not commit legal error or abuse its discretion when it denied petitioners' motion to reconsider the denial of CAT relief and its analysis of their torture claim was not inconsistent with the court's binding precedent. In this case, there was no evidence that the police official provided evidence to the Mara 18 gang, was aware that this act would result in torture, and thereafter breached his legal responsibility to intervene to prevent such activity. View "Rodriguez de Henriquez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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In removal proceedings, petitioner Sandra Lopez-Munoz appeared and requested cancellation of removal, but the immigration judge declined the request. Petitioner unsuccessfully appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals, moved for the Board to reopen her case, petitioned for review to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, moved a second time for the Board to reopen her case, and moved for reconsideration of the denial of her second motion to reopen. The removal proceedings began with the service of a notice to appear. But because the notice to appear failed to include a date and time for her impending immigration hearing, petitioner argued the immigration judge lacked jurisdiction over the removal proceedings. If petitioner was correct, the Tenth Circuit concluded she might be entitled to relief based on the immigration judge’s lack of jurisdiction to order removal. In the Court’s view, however, the alleged defect would not preclude jurisdiction. It thus denied the petition for review. View "Lopez-Munoz v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's finding that petitioner was removable for an aggravated felony. The court held that petitioner's conviction for first‐degree robbery in violation of Connecticut General Statutes 53a‐134(a)(4) is a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. 16(a) and therefore an aggravated felony under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii), 1101(43)(F). View "Wood v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff and his wife appealed the district court's denial of their complaint alleging that USCIS unlawfully rejected the Form I-130 petition for Alien Relative that plaintiff filed on behalf of his wife. The district court dismissed the complaint based on lack of jurisdiction. The Fourth Circuit held that the district court erred in dismissing the complaint for lack of jurisdiction, because the Administrative Procedure Act authorized plaintiff's claim and 8 U.S.C. 1252(a)(2)(B) did not strip the court of jurisdiction to determine whether I-130 petitions pending at the time the Adam Walsh Act amended 8 U.S.C. 1154 should be processed by USCIS under the former or amended version of the statute. However, the court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint and held that USCIS properly applied the Adam Walsh Act's amendments when adjudicating plaintiff's petition and nothing in the text of the amendments indicated that Congress did not intend for them to apply to pending I-130 petitions. In this case, the petition had been filed, but the agency had not yet approved or rejected it when the statutory amendments came into effect. Therefore, the court held that the amendments were not applied retroactively to a past decision or concerning past eligibility, but rather were applied to a then-pending decision regarding current eligibility for the requested relief. Finally, the court held that plaintiff's remaining arguments to the contrary lacked merit. View "Moore v. Frazier" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of a preliminary injunction against DOJ's use of the notice and access conditions imposed on recipients of Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program formula grants. The panel held that DOJ lacked statutory authority to require recipients of the grant to comply with DHS requests for notice of a detained alien's release date and time and to allow DHS agents access to detained aliens upon request. The panel held that DOJ lacked statutory authority to the notice and access conditions -- which were not special conditions nor were they listed among the statutorily recognized purposes of a Byrne JAG award -- under section 10102(a)(6) of the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Act of 2005. The panel rejected DOJ's argument that the notice and access conditions were further supported by provisions in the Byrne JAG statute that authorize the Attorney General to obtain certain information and require coordination with agencies. View "Los Angeles v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying asylum and withholding of removal as to Petitioner's family membership persecution claim for relief, denied the relief Petitioner sought on alternate particular social group (PSG) theories and for protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), and remanded for proceedings on Petitioner's family membership persecution claim, holding that the agency's decision was based on errors of law. Petitioner, a Honduran nation, sought asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT relief, asserting that he had experienced past persecution on account of a protected ground - his membership in his mother's nuclear family - and would face future persecution. The immigration judge denied asylum relief, holding that Petitioner had not met his burden to show the required nexus. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit vacated in part, holding (1) the BIA's decision as to Petitioner's asylum and withholding of removal claims based on his persecution as a member of his mother's family was based on legal errors, requiring a remand for the BIA to make its own finding using the correct legal standard; and (2) the BIA's decision as to Petitioner's other proposed PSGs and his CAT claim contained no legal errors and was supported by substantial evidence. View "Enamorado-Rodriguez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit granted the petition for review of the BIA's denial of two motions to reopen petitioner's removal proceedings. Petitioner sought to reopen her removal proceedings after an IJ issued an in absentia removal order when she failed to appear at an immigration hearing. The panel held that it had jurisdiction over petitioner's case because, absent any prejudice to the Government, a premature petition for review of an immigration order may ripen upon final disposition of the case by the BIA. On the merits, the panel held that the BIA abused its discretion in denying the appeal of a motion to reopen, where the IJ in the underlying removal proceeding ordered petitioner removable in absentia on the basis of an amended notice to appear. In this case, the in absentia removal order was not supported by substantial evidence because the record provided no evidence of proper service of the amended notice to appear, as required by due process, and the IJ ordered petitioner removed based on admissions to the charges for which she did not receive notice. View "Diaz Martinez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Defendant was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and obtained a $35,000 bond for his release from custody. The surety promised to assure Defendant’s appearance for arraignment. The contract stated that, if Defendant left the jurisdiction, he would “voluntarily return” and “waive extradition.” On the day of the arraignment, Defendant's indemnitor informed the surety Defendant told her he was in Mexico. The court forfeited the bail bond. Under Penal Code 1305(c), the court was required to vacate the forfeiture if Defendant appeared in court, either voluntarily or in custody, within 180 days. The court extended the appearance period by six months. The surety then moved to vacate the forfeiture and exonerate the bond or to toll or extend time, arguing that Defendant was located in Mexico and “subject to “constructive custody,” having obtained a Mexican passport and applied for a U.S. visa. The surety contended the People were imposing improper conditions, including a requirement that the surety pay for extradition ($50,000). The surety argued Defendant was in effect detained as a result of immigration laws that precluded his reentry. The People argued they could not extradite Defendant on a misdemeanor charge and that he was not detained but left the country voluntarily. The court of appeal affirmed summary judgment against the surety, rejecting an argument that Defendant suffered from a “temporary disability” under Penal Code 1305(e), View "People v. The North River Insurance Co." on Justia Law