Articles Posted in U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals

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Petitioner, a native and citizen of Nicaragua, argued that he met the requirements of 8 U.S.C. 1229b(b)(1)(A) and was therefore eligible for cancellation of removal. Shortly before the statute's ten years of physical presence requirement would accrue, DHS served petitioner with a notice to appear. On appeal, petitioner's main argument was that the notice to appear was invalid and thus did not stop the accrual of the ten-year statutory period. The court concluded that petitioner's original notice to appeal was not invalid where the court deferred to the BIA's reasonable interpretation of the statute and noted that the notice to appear substantially complied with the requirements of section 1229(a); the IJ did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to terminate removal proceedings; DHS had discretion to amend the charge; the court lacked jurisdiction to review petitioner's contention that the IJ violated his procedural due process right by pretermitting his application for cancellation of removal, and because the court determined that deference to In re Camarillo was appropriate, the court need not reach the BIA's alternative rationale regarding fraud. Accordingly, the court denied in part and dismissed in part. View "Urbina v. Holder, Jr." on Justia Law

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Petitioners, natives of China who have two children born in the United States, sought asylum and withholding of removal on the basis that one or both of them would be persecuted for having violated China's one-child policy, and for their Christian faith. The BIA and the IJ, relying on a 2007 State Department report, concluded that neither petitioner established a well-founded fear of persecution. The court granted the petition for review to the extent petitioners sought relief based on China's one-child policy where petitioners offered powerful contradictory evidence that required the agency to account for it in a meaningful way. The court remanded the claim to the BIA for further consideration. The court denied the petition for review to the extent it was grounded on the religious faith of petitioners. View "Chen v. Holder, Jr." on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a citizen of El Salvador, requested that the Attorney General withhold removal under 8 U.S.C. 1231(b)(3). Petitioner claimed that as a former member of the violent Mara Salvatrucha gang (MS-13), he is a member of a particular social group and that he would be killed if sent back to El Salvador because he renounced his membership in MS-13. The court concluded that petitioner's proposed particular social group of former MS-13 members from El Salvador was immutable for withholding of removal purposes in that the only way that petitioner could change his membership in the group would be to rejoin MS-13. Accordingly, the court held that the BIA erred in its ruling on immutability and reversed and remanded. The court affirmed the district court's denial of relief under the Convention Against Torture because it was not supported by sufficient evidence. View "Martinez v. Holder, Jr." on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a Tanzanian national who suffers from severe bipolar disorder, petitioned for review of the BIA's denial of his application for asylum. Petitioner argued that he faced severe persecution because of his membership in the social group of individuals with bipolar disorder who exhibit erratic behavior. The court vacated the BIA's social visibility finding because it rests on legal error; the BIA also committed legal error in concluding that petitioner's group lacked particularity; and petitioner's proposed group is immutable. Accordingly, the court granted the petition for review, vacated the BIA's order, and remanded for further consideration. View "Temu v. Holder, Jr." on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a native and citizen of China, sought review of the denial of his application for asylum and withholding of removal based on his claim that government officials would sterilize him for violating China's one-child policy if he returns to China. The court concluded that the adverse credibility finding was supported by substantial evidence where the IJ and BIA identified specific and cogent reasons support this finding. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. To the extent that petitioner sought review of the BIA's denial of relief under the Convention Against Torture, the court concluded that the agency's decision was also supported by substantial evidence. View "Pan v. Holder" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, born in El Salvador, applied for special rule cancellation of removal under section 203 of the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA), Pub. L. No. 105-100, 111 Stat. 2160, 2196. Petitioner subsequently sought review of the BIA's dismissal of his appeal of the IJ's adverse credibility determination and denial of relief. The BIA determined that petitioner's admitted participation in a civil patrol, coupled with the government's evidence of human rights violations that occurred during the time and in the place that petitioner patrolled, was sufficient to trigger his burden to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the persecutor bar did not apply. The court held that the record contained evidence sufficient to trigger petitioner's burden, and the court agreed with the BIA and the IJ that petitioner did not meet his burden. Therefore, the court denied the petition for review. View "Pastora v. Holder, Jr." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a native and citizen of India, sought review of USCIS's denial of her application for naturalization. The district court granted summary judgment to USCIS finding that plaintiff was ineligible for naturalization because she had not been lawfully admitted for permanent residence, and that she failed to demonstrate good moral character. The court found that plaintiff failed to show that she was legally entitled to the grant of the LPR status she received and concluded that she was not lawfully admitted for permanent residence. Therefore, plaintiff was ineligible for naturalization and the district court did not err in granting summary judgment on this ground. Accordingly, the court affirmed as to that portion of the district court's judgment. Because a failure to satisfy any one of the statutory prerequisites rendered an applicant ineligible for naturalization, the district court's finding of moral character was not essential to its grant of summary judgment. Accordingly, the court vacated that portion of the district court's judgment addressing plaintiff's good moral character. View "Injeti v. USCIS" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a native and citizen of China, petitioned for review of the BIA's order dismissing her appeal from the IJ's order finding her ineligible for asylum, withholding of removal, or deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The IJ determined that petitioner's testimony was not credible and that she had not provided sufficient evidence to prove that she was the victim of a forced abortion. The BIA agreed with the IJ's decision in all pertinent parts. The court concluded that the agency's finding was supported by substantial evidence and was not manifestly contrary to law. Therefore, the court affirmed the denial of petitioner's claim for asylum and for protection under the CAT. Petitioner also failed to meet the more stringent burden of proof required to qualify for withholding of removal. Further, the court concluded that petitioner's argument, that her due process rights were violated by the IJ's decision allowing the government to submit supplemental evidence after the merits hearing, was without merit. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. View "Lin v. Holder, Jr." on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a native and citizen of India, petitioned for review of the BIA's order affirming the IJ's order of removal. Petitioner, a lawful permanent resident (LPR), was deemed an inadmissible arriving alien upon his return from a 17-day overseas trip. At issue was whether 8 U.S.C. 1101, as amended by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), still allowed for the case-by-case analysis of an alien's intent under Rosenberg v. Fleuti when determining whether the alien was "seeking an admission" for purposes of removal proceedings. Under Fleuti, LPRs were permitted to take "innocent, casual, and brief" trips abroad without having to seek readmission. The court joined its sister circuits and held that, based on the plain text of the statute, the Fleuti doctrine did not survive IIRIRA's enactment. Accordingly, upon petitioner's entry into the country from India, he was "seeking admission into the United States" and was subject to removal because of his criminal history. The court reached the same result pursuant to principles of administrative deference under Chevron. The court rejected petitioner's remaining claims and denied the petition for review. View "Othi v. Holder, Jr." on Justia Law

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Petitioner, an Estonian-born citizen of Russia, petitioned for review of the BIA's order denying her untimely motion to reopen removal proceedings. The court held that when a petitioner failed to meet the statutory deadline to file a motion to reopen her immigration case, equitable tolling was appropriate only when (1) the Government's wrongful conduct prevented the petitioner from filing a timely motion; or (2) extraordinary circumstances beyond the petitioner's control made it impossible. In this case, petitioner simply misunderstood the accurate, but limited, advice given by a USCIS officer and then ignored two warnings from her attorney that she needed to file a motion to reopen her immigration case within the statutory time limit. Accordingly, petitioner failed to satisfy either criteria for equitable tolling and the court denied the petition for review. View "Kuusk v. Holder, Jr." on Justia Law