Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
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The Eighth Circuit denied the petition for review of the BIA's dismissal of petitioner's appeal from the IJ's order denying her request for withholding of removal under section 241(b)(3)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). In this case, petitioner feared extortion and death if she returned to Guatemala. The court held that, assuming family constitutes a particular social group, substantial evidence supported the finding that petitioner's family membership is not a central reason for the persecution she fears in Guatemala. The court also held that substantial evidence supported the BIA's conclusion that it is not likely that petitioner will suffer torture by or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official in Guatemala. View "Silvestre-Giron v. Barr" on Justia Law

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In consolidated appeals, petitioner sought review of DHS's reinstatement of prior orders of removal and challenged the dismissal of related complaints that were filed in federal district court. The Eighth Circuit denied the petition for review in the lead case and affirmed the district court's judgment in the consolidated cases. The court held that the district court properly dismissed petitioner's lawsuits in federal district court, based on lack of jurisdiction, where he sought review of DHS's reinstatement of the removal order and to compel DHS to adjudicate a motion to reopen; the relevant statute stated that a petition for review filed with an appropriate court of appeals shall be the sole and exclusive means for judicial review of the order of removal; the court lacked jurisdiction to consider petitioner's arguments concerning the validity of the underlying removal order; substantial evidence supported DHS's decision to reinstate the removal order, because petitioner conceded his identity, the existence of the removal order, and that he unlawfully reentered the United States; and there was no error in the IJ's determination that petitioner failed to show that he was eligible for withholding of removal or relief under the Convention Against Torture. View "Lara-Nieto v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision denying petitioners' request for humanitarian asylum. Petitioners, seeking asylum for themselves and their children, contend that the district court erred in requiring that they show past persecution on account of a protected ground as a prerequisite for obtaining humanitarian asylum. The court held that petitioner's argument was foreclosed by this court's existing precedent in Kanagu v. Holder, 781 F.3d 912 (8th Cir. 2015), which held that the petitioner's failure to prove persecution on a protected ground made him ineligible for humanitarian asylum. Therefore, the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying petitioners' requested relief. View "Mejia-Lopez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied petitions for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's denial of petitioner's application of withholding of removal under section 241(b)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The court held that substantial evidence supported the finding that petitioner failed to establish a clear probability that he would suffer persecution in Mexico on account of his membership in the de la Rosa family. Therefore, the court found that the IJ and the BIA did not err in denying petitioner's application for withholding of removal. Because the IJ and the BIA did not err in finding that petitioner failed to show a likelihood of persecution on account of membership in a particular social group, the court need not address the argument that the IJ and the BIA erred in finding that petitioner failed to establish that the Mexican government is unable or unwilling to protect him. View "De La Rosa Garcia v. Barr" on Justia Law

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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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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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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's order denying cancellation of removal and ordering petitioner removed, and subsequently denying his timely motion to reopen proceedings. The court held that petitioner was challenging the discretionary conclusion of the BIA against him and thus the court did not have jurisdiction. The court also held that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to reopen, because the BIA had the final authority to decide whether to grant discretionary cancellation-of-removal relief. View "Urrutia Robles v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision finding petitioner ineligible for cancellation of removal because he sustained a prior conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude when he was convicted of theft by receiving in violation of Nebraska law. The court also held that Ali v. Barr, 924 F.3d 983, 986 (8th Cir. 2019), foreclosed petitioner's claim that neither the IJ nor the BIA had subject matter jurisdiction over his removal proceedings, because the initial notice to appear served on petitioner did not include information about when and where to appear. View "Inzunza Reyna v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied the petition for review of the BIA's denial of petitioner's untimely motion to reopen. The court agreed with the Second Circuit's rejection of the argument that denial of an unopposed non-frivolous motion to reopen is presumptively an abuse of discretion because the burden is on the movant to establish his entitlement to reopening and there is no statutory or regulatory requirement that the Government file an opposition. The court held that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in ruling on the merits of petitioner's motion. The court also held that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in concluding that petitioner failed to show that former counsel's incompetence prejudiced his asylum and withholding of removal claims. Furthermore, there was no abuse of discretion in denying petitioner equitable tolling for his 17 month delay for filing the motion to reopen. Finally, there was no constitutional right under the Fifth Amendment to effective assistance of counsel in a removal proceeding. View "Mwangi v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's denial of petitioner's request for asylum and/or withholding removal. The court held that substantial evidence supported the BIA's finding that petitioner failed to establish that she suffered past persecution. In this case, although petitioner experienced the tragic loss of her father and brother, her family's disappearance without explanation did not rise to the level of persecution. Rather, the evidence established that her father and brother's kidnappings were the result of criminal activity in the area by persons seeking wealth. The court also held that substantial evidence supported the BIA's finding that petitioner's stated fears of future persecution were not objectively reasonable where her family continues to reside in Honduras unharmed. Finally, substantial evidence supported the BIA's denial of withholding removal. View "Mejia-Ramos v. Barr" on Justia Law