Articles Posted in U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals

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Harmon was born in Liberia in 1984, shortly before the start of the Civil War. She was separated from her parents at four-years-old and recently learned that her parents were killed in that conflict. Harmon was repeatedly sexually molested and raped. In 1992, Harmon’s aunt, Barroar, took Harmon to the Liberian embassy in Gambia, where Barroar worked. Harmon was 10 years old when her aunt brought her to the U.S. on a visitor’s visa to live with Harmon’s brother Herbert. She now has no family or connections in Liberia. Harmon turned 18 in 2002. Months later, Herbert assisted her in obtaining Temporary Protected Status (TPS). When Harmon turned 19, she left Herbert’s home, and was unsuccessful without his assistance. She missed the TPS deadline while trying to collect money for the application fee, had her next application denied, and sent her appeal to the wrong address. In 2007, Harmon tried to enter Canada, thinking that she could get refugee protection, but was stopped by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She received notice that she was removable under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(1)(B) and sought asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture. The IJ denied relief on the merits, approved the denial of TPS, and ordered removal. The Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed Harmon’s appeal and her subsequent motion to reopen. While appeal was pending, Harmon entered Canada and applied for the equivalent of lawful permanent resident status. The Sixth Circuit denied a petition for review. View "Harmon v. Holder" on Justia Law

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Sheya and Mtandazo Mandebvu are school teachers who spoke out criticizing Robert Mugabe’s violent and corrupt Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party and government. Sheva came to the U.S. in 1999 and earned two masters’ degrees by 2006, never returning to Zimbabwe. Mtandazo came to the U.S. with their two children in 2000 after being forced into hiding for her political activities in Zimbabwe. Other family members have also been beaten, detained, or threatened. As they grew more concerned with deteriorating conditions in Zimbabwe, Sheya and Mtandazo became politically active with ZANU-PF’s opposition in the U.S. They attempted to file for asylum in 2005 but, through no fault of their own, the applications were never filed. They were served with notices that they were subject to removal in 2007 and filed applications for asylum and withholding of removal in 2008. The Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed an Immigration Judge’s denial of the Mandebvus’ applications The Sixth Circuit remanded, finding that the decision that the asylum applications were untimely was infected by legal error and that the evidence showed that it is likely that the Mandebvus will be persecuted for their political opinion or tortured if returned to Zimbabwe. View "Mandebvu v. Holder" on Justia Law

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Caspeta, a Mexican citizen born in 1973, attempted to enter the U.S. in 1999, using a border pass issued to another individual, and was sentenced to 90 days of custody and 2 years of supervised release for violating 8 U.S.C. 1325(a)(3). The sentence was suspended. He was escorted across a bridge back to Mexico and was given an Order instructing him that he was prohibited from re-entering the U.S. for five years and that if he wished to re-enter the U.S. he would first need to obtain the permission of the Attorney General. The Notice included a warning that violation would be subject to prosecution for a felony. In 2012, Caspeta was convicted of a traffic offense in Detroit and was charged with unlawful reentry under 8 U.S.C. 1326(a). He argued that once more than five years had elapsed since his removal, so that the statute did not require him to obtain consent prior to reentry. He was found guilty. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, finding that the statutory scheme does not eliminate the need for consent after five years, but only makes consent possible after five years. View "United States v. Romero-Caspeta" on Justia Law

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Foythong, a Thai citizen, came to the U.S. in 2001 as a non-immigrant visitor and did not leave when his visa expired. In 2004, Foythong, still married to his Thai wife, married a U.S. citizen, Langevin, who sought to adjust Foythong’s status to lawful permanent resident based on the marriage. After investigating, DHS issued notice of intent to deny the petition on the ground that the marriage was a sham, based on significant discrepancies in testimony. Langevin withdrew the petition; the marriage ended. In 2010, Foythong married again, 12 days before a scheduled removal hearing. His third wife, Clark, a U.S. citizen, requested a marriage-based visa on his behalf. DHS denied the petition. Michigan does not recognize consular divorces, rendering ineffective Foythong’s effort to divorce his Thai wife through a consulate in Chicago. DHS stated that the fraudulent marriage to Langevin precluded Foythong from any future adjustment of status based on marriage. The immigration judge ordered removal. The Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed. In 2013, Foythong asked the Board to reopen his case, stating that he had legally divorced his first wife and married Clark. The Board denied the motion. The Sixth Circuit denied review, citing 8 U.S.C. 1154(c), which imposes a one-strike rule, so that, after one prior finding of a sham marriage, immigration authorities must reject all future efforts at adjustment of status based on marriage. View "Foythong v. Holder" on Justia Law

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Slyusar worked as a social worker in Ukraine. She joined a private organization and agreed to record unlawful non-cash pensions distributed by her office. She reported pension fraud, identifying officials by name. Slyusar took the report to a radio station. After it broadcasted the report, Slyusar received threats to her life and her children’s lives. She claimed that at one point, she was taken to a police station, where people screamed at her and ordered her to sign papers confessing to slander, then disrobed and beat her. They allegedly placed Slyusar in a cell, where she was raped by three men. She claims she was poisoned during her week in prison. Slyusar’s husband was living in the U.S., caring for his grandmother. Although she claims to have been in hiding, she divorced her husband after her release. She claims a second detention and beating, after which she was hospitalized. She fled to the U.S., using a Russian passport as Julia Pusharova. She married a citizen and applied for adjustment of status; DHS initiated removal. An IJ denied asylum and withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture, finding discrepancies between her testimony and the evidence. Slyusar’s asylum application was not timely filed and she failed to demonstrate extraordinary circumstances. The BIA dismissed an appeal. The Sixth Circuit denied review. View "Slyusar v. Holder" on Justia Law

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Hanna, born in 1979, is a citizen of Iraq. Hanna and his family left Iraq in 1990, moving to Canada, with permission to live and work in that country. In 1993 Hanna’s parents obtained U.S. permanent resident status through Hanna’s sister, a citizen. In 1993, Hanna entered the U.S. as a nonimmigrant. Hanna’s parents sought permanent resident status for Hanna. While the petition was pending, Hanna attended school in Canada. By overstaying his visitor’s visas, Hanna attended a U.S. high school, worked at the family business, and obtained a Michigan driver’s license. Hanna was admitted as a lawful permanent U.S. resident in1998. His Canadian permanent resident status expired. In 1996, Hanna, then 17 years old, was arrested for threatening a man with a three-inch folding knife during an argument. Charges were twice dropped, but the state reinstated charges of felonious assault and driving with a suspended license. The court sentenced him to 30 days in jail and two years of probation. The government commenced removal proceedings, charging him as having been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(i), with Iraq as the country of removal. Hanna sought asylum and withholding of removal, claiming that being a Chaldean Christian placed him at risk in Iraq. After reopening, an IJ stated that an alien who “firmly resettled” in another country before arriving is not eligible for asylum and that Hanna was bound to his first attorney’s concession of removability. The BIA affirmed. The Sixth Circuit reversed the holding that Hanna’s admission-concession was binding and remanded for determination of whether Hanna’s offense was a crime involving moral turpitude. View "Hanna v. Holder" on Justia Law

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Individual plaintiffs alleged that they were illegally stopped, searched, or detained by the U.S. Border Patrol for the Sandusky Bay Ohio Station, based upon their Hispanic appearance, race and ethnicity. They claimed that in the three years the station has been open, 61.8% to 85.6% of those apprehended have been Hispanic, and use of racial slurs by agents. Plaintiffs sought equitable relief and monetary damages under Bivens v. Six Unknown Agents and 42 U.S.C. 1983, 1985, and 1986, and claimed that agents had violated the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1101, and the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. The complaint alleged conspiracy between the Border Patrol and municipalities, police chiefs and individual officers, to violate the civil rights of Hispanics. An amended complaint added the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. 702, as a source of jurisdiction. Plaintiffs settled their claims with local agencies. The district court denied plaintiffs’ request to add claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. 2671 and dismissed, determining that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction because plaintiffs had failed to establish waiver of sovereign immunity. The Sixth Circuit reversed. The APA section 702 waiver of sovereign immunity extends to all non-monetary claims against federal agencies and their officers sued in their official capacity, regardless of whether plaintiff seeks review of “agency action” or “final agency action” as set forth in section 704. View "Muniz-Muniz v. U.S. Border Patrol" on Justia Law

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The FBI investigated Alwan, an Iraqi living in Bowling Green, after his fingerprints appeared on an improvised explosive device in Iraq, and introduced Alwan to a confidential source (CHS), who recorded their conversations. CHS convinced Alwan that he was part of a group supporting Jihad. Alwan assisted in sending what he believed to be money and weapons to the Mujahidin several times and eventually asked to lead the fictional terrorist cell. CHS instructed Alwan to recruit others. Hammadi agreed to join, stating that he had participated in IED attacks on American troops and had been arrested, but bribed his way free and fled to Syria. In Syria, he applied for refugee status to immigrate to the U.S. and answered “no” when asked if he had engaged in terrorist activity. Hammadi had moved to Bowling Green on the recommendation of Alwan, whose family he knew from Iraq and whom he had met in Syria. The two transported $100,000 from CHS to a truck, believing that it would find its way to Iraq, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2339A. They hid rocket-propelled grenade launchers, machine guns, plastic explosives, and sniper rifles in another truck, for transport to terrorists, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2339A and 2339B. They loaded Stinger missiles into another truck and plotted to murder a U.S. Army Captain. Hammadi pleaded guilty to 10 terrorism and two immigration offenses. Rejecting claims of entrapment and sentencing manipulation, the district court imposed a life sentence. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, noting that Hammadi would not qualify for a departure under either theory. View "United States v. Hammadi" on Justia Law

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In her representation of a client charged with alien smuggling, 8 U.S.C. 1324, Migdal, an attorney who has served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender for nearly 25 years, had a number of disagreements with the federal prosecutor, who ultimately moved for sanctions against Migdal. The prosecutor failed to follow Department of Justice policy requiring supervisory approval of sanctions requests. Despite the government withdrawing the motion and indicating that it did not believe that Migdal acted in bad faith, the district court entered orders strongly publicly reprimanding Migdal. The Sixth Circuit vacated, stating that the record does not support any basis for the orders. View "United States v. Llanez-Garcia" on Justia Law

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Patel, a citizen of India, entered the U.S. on a one-year visitor’s visa in 1999. He overstayed and began looking for a job. Citizenship and Immigration Services denied his first petition for an employment visa in 2006 because the employer (Deluxe) was unable to pay the proffered wage, 8 C.F.R. 204.5(g)(2). In 2010 Peshtal offered him a job as Lodging Manager at an Indiana hotel. Peshtal did not apply for its own labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, 8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(3)(C), that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the job and the alien’s employment “will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions” of other workers. Instead Peshtal sought an employment visa on Patel’s behalf, attaching the labor certification that Deluxe had received for the 2006 Michigan Lodging Manager position. CIS denied the petition. The district court dismissed an appeal for lack of prudential standing. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, stating that disembodied notions of statutory purpose cannot override what the statute actually says. The alien is the one who is entitled to the employment visa. The alien’s interest is within the zone of interests protected by the statute. Patel suffered an injury that is fairly traceable to CIS and that is redressable in this lawsuit. View "Patel v. U.S. Citizenship & Immigrations Servs." on Justia Law