Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

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In this immigration case, the First Circuit vacated the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) upholding the decision of the Immigration Judge (IJ) denying Petitioner’s applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). In his petition for review, Petitioner, a native of Guatemala, argued that he presented sufficient evidence to establish both past persecution and a well-founded fear of future persecution and that he could not reasonably relocate within Guatemala. The First Circuit granted the petition for review and remanded for further proceedings, holding (1) there was significant evidence in the record supporting a conclusion that relocation would be unreasonable; and (2) given the limited analysis on this issue by the IJ and the BIA, remand was proper for the BIA to consider it fully. View "Garcia-Cruz v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a citizen of Guatemala, petitioned for review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying his requests for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The BIA affirmed the decision of the Immigration Judge (IJ), concluding (1) the level of mistreatment Petitioner suffered did not rise to the level that could qualify as persecution to be entitled to a grant of asylum, and (2) Petitioner could not meet the requirements for withholding of removal and for protection under the CAT. The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review, holding (1) Petitioner failed to provide the court with a basis for reversing the BIA’s ruling denying his application for asylum; and (2) Petitioner failed to offer any basis on which to conclude that he could satisfy the requirements for withholding for removal or for protection under the CAT. View "Morales-Morales v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that aliens who are subject to reinstated orders of removal may not apply for asylum, even though they may be entitled to withholding of removal. In reaching this conclusion, the First Circuit ruled that certain provisions of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 did not entitle Petitioner, a citizen of Guatemala who was subject to a reinstated order of removal, to seek asylum. The First Circuit affirmed the decisions of the immigration judge (IJ) and Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that determined that Petitioner could not apply for asylum even where the IJ determined that he was entitled to withholding of removal based on the persecution he would face in Guatemala. View "Garcia-Garcia v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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In 2007, removal proceedings were initiated against Petitioner. An immigration judge (IJ), however, deemed Petitioner to be a U.S. citizen. In 2016, Petitioner was convicted of a drug felony, and a second IJ ordered Petitioner removed. The IJ denied Petitioner’s motion to terminate removal proceedings on the basis of the prior IJ’s determination that Petitioner was a U.S. citizen. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissed Petitioner’s appeal, agreeing that res judicata was inapplicable in the context of an administrative proceeding where doing so would “frustrate[] Congressional intent.” The First Circuit dismissed Petitioner’s petition for review, holding (1) the applicability of res judicata becomes immaterial before this Court because of the jurisdictional limitation imposed by the Immigration and Nationality Act; (2) Petitioner failed to meet his burden of proving that he is a United States citizen; and (3) accordingly, the jurisdictional bar in 8 U.S.C. 1252(a)(2) (C) applies and precludes judicial review of the final order of removal against Petitioner. View "Miranda v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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Israa Hassan, a United States citizen, filed an I-130 petition seeking permanent resident status for her noncitizen husband, Kamal Ali. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denied the petition based on its determination that Ali’s prior marriage had been fraudulent. Ali and Hassan (together, Plaintiffs) filed a lawsuit alleging that USCIS had violated their Fifth Amendment procedural due process rights by denying the I-130 petition without sua sponte offering a pre-decision evidentiary hearing. The magistrate judge issued an order granting the government’s motion for summary judgment, concluding that, even assuming that Plaintiffs had a liberty interest in Ali having permanent resident status through the petition, due process did not require an evidentiary hearing. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that, even assuming that Plaintiffs were entitled to some form of constitutionally protected liberty interest in this matter, the district court properly held that Plaintiffs did not show how their preferred procedure would have made any difference to the outcome. View "Ali v. United States" on Justia Law

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After she was charged with removability, Petitioner, a native and citizen of Guatemala, filed an application for asylum and withholding of removal pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act. An immigration judge (IJ) rejected Petitioner’s application for relief. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) upheld the IJ’s denial and dismissed the appeal. Thereafter, Petitioner filed a motion requesting that the BIA reopen and reconsider her appeal, contending that the BIA committed three legal errors. The BIA denied Petitioner’s motion to reopen and reconsider. The First Circuit dismissed Petitioner’s petition for review, holding that the BIA did not abuse its discretion when it denied Petitioner’s motion. View "Cortez Cardona v. Yates" on Justia Law

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In May 1990, Petitioner, a lawful permanent resident, committed a felony under California law. At that time, the immigration laws allowed the Attorney General of the United States, if so inclined, to grant Petitioner a waiver from the full effect of his criminal conduct. In December 1990, Petitioner was convicted. In November 1990, the Immigration Act of 1990 (IMMACT) took effect. IMMACT divested the Attorney General of the discretion to grant such a waiver to any person who served five or more years of incarceration for an aggravated felony. In 2014, after Petitioner was released from prison, he was charged with being removable. The Board of Immigration Appeals determined that, although Petitioner’s conduct predated IMMACT’s enactment, the fact that his conviction postdated IMMACT’s enactment controlled. The First Circuit dismissed Petitioner’s petition for review, holding that controlling precedent is in accord with the BIA’s decision, and therefore, the BIA did not apply IMMACT to Petitioner in an improperly retroactive manner. View "Holder v. Lynch" on Justia Law

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Swaby, a citizen of Jamaica, entered the U.S. on a tourist visa in 1996 and adjusted to lawful permanent resident status in 2010. In 2013, Swaby pled nolo contendere in Rhode Island to three counts of manufacturing, delivering, or possessing with intent to distribute marijuana. Swaby was charged with removability under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(B)(i), which authorizes removal of an alien convicted of a violation of any federal or state law "relating to a controlled substance,” defined as a "drug or other substance" included in one of the five federal drug schedules, 21 U.S.C 802(6). Swaby initially appeared pro se and accepted an order of removal, waiving his right to appeal. In 2015, represented by counsel, Swaby moved to reopen and terminate removal proceedings, arguing that under the Supreme Court’s 2015 holding, Mellouli v. Lynch, his convictions did not qualify as removable offenses. The IJ reopened, but denied Swaby's request for cancellation of removal. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit dismissed in part and denied relief in part. Under the modified categorical approach, the plea documents make clear that Swaby's convictions were for the manufacturing, delivering, or possessing with intent to distribute marijuana and "relat[e] to a controlled substance (as defined in [the federal drug schedules])," as section 1227(a)(2)(B)(i) requires. View "Swaby v. Yates" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a native of China, was charged with being removable. Petitioner filed applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The Immigration Judge (IJ) denied all of Petitioner’s claims and ordered him removed from the United States, finding that Petitioner was not credible. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissed Petitioner’s appeal. The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review, holding (1) Petitioner’s asylum claim failed, and consequently, Petitioner’s withholding of removal claim necessarily failed as well; and (2) substantial evidence existed to support the BIA’s rejection of Petitioner’s CAT claim. View "Xian Jing v. Lynch" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a Honduran nation, conceded removability after being charged for being present in the United States without legal sanction. Petitioner cross-applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), arguing that he had a well-founded fear of persecution based on his experiences in Honduras. An immigration judge (IJ) denied relief and ordered his removal. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissed Petitioner’s appeal. The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for judicial review, holding that the IJ’s and the BIA’s denial of Petitioner’s claim for asylum must stand. View "Rivera-Coca v. Lynch" on Justia Law