Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress his responses to an ICE agent's two questions at the Treasurer's Office, because he was not in custody at the time of questioning. Although defendant was in custody at the ICE facility, the court held that an agent's questions were not custodial interrogation because the agent could not have known his questions were likely to elicit incriminating information regarding the two criminal charges that were eventually brought against defendant. The court noted that the Attorney General's regulations carefully distinguish between the warrantless arrest of an alien for a criminal violation of the immigration laws, and what is called the "administrative arrest" of an alien who is reasonably believed to be illegally present in the United States. The court agreed with the district court that the agent's questioning was a request for routine information necessary for basic identification purposes that is not interrogation under Miranda, even if the information turns out to be incriminating. View "United States v. Sanchez-Velasco" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied the petition for review of the BIA's decision denying petitioner's applications for asylum and withholding of removal. The court held that petitioner failed to establish a well-founded fear of future persecution under the unable-and-unwilling standard. In this case, based on the country reports and her own testimony that she did not and would not contact the Mexican police, the court held that petitioner failed to show that the Mexican government is unable or unwilling to protect her. Furthermore, even assuming petitioner's asylum application was timely, the court found no basis for granting her petition for review as she did not show a well-founded fear of future persecution. Finally, even assuming "Mexican females" is a cognizable social group and that petitioner is a member of both the "Mexican females" and "unable to leave" groups, the court found that she failed to meet her burden of proving future persecution and is thus not entitled to relief. View "Jimenez Galloso v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit granted in part and denied in part a petition for review of the BIA's decision reversing the IJ's grant of waiver of inadmissibility and deferral of removal to petitioner. After determining that the court had jurisdiction to review petitioner's arguments and that the criminal-alien bar did not preclude review, the court held that the BIA did not supplant the IJ's finding that petitioner likely faced hardship, and suspected that any discrepancies in wording were inadvertant and did not cross the line separating permissible weighing from impermissible fact finding. However, further proceedings are required on petitioner's request for deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court held that what is missing from the decision is a finding that petitioner would "more likely than not" suffer torture in Somalia. Accordingly, the court remanded with instructions to the BIA to remand to the IJ to make this finding. View "Kassim v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied the petition for review of the BIA's order dismissing petitioner's appeal from the IJ's decision denying her asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court held that the agency's adverse credibility findings were supported by specific, cogent, reasons for disbelief. In this case, petitioner failed to address the myriad of inconsistencies and contradictory statements on the record, such as the number of times she was abused, where she was abused, and whether she could successfully leave her partner. Such information was material in determining whether she is a member of a particular social group, suffered from past persecution, or has a reasonable fear of future persecution. View "Garcia v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied petitions for review challenging the BIA's interpretation of the Supreme Court's decision in Esquivel–Quintana v. Sessions, 137 S. Ct. 1562 (2017). Petitioner asked the BIA to reopen his proceedings under 8 C.F.R. 1003.2 and 8 U.S.C. 1229a(c)(7), contending that Esquivel–Quintana narrowed what crimes qualify as "sexual abuse of a minor." The court held that the time for filing a motion to reopen was not equitably tolled and thus petitioner's motion was untimely. In this case, petitioner did not raise a colorable constitutional claim, so under currently existing law, the court could not review the BIA's decision not to reopen his case on its own motion. The court declined to recognize a second exception permitting appellate review when the Board relies "on an incorrect legal premise." View "Chong Toua Vue v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's dismissal of petitioner's appeal of the IJ's denial of cancellation of removal relief and denial of petitioner's motion to remand. The court held that the BIA did not engage in impermissible factfinding when it agreed with petitioner that one of the IJ's findings was clearly erroneous. In this case, the BIA evaluated the same record as the IJ; noted the IJ's factual error and its lack of prejudicial impact; and concluded after weighing and evaluating the other evidence that exceptional and extremely unusual hardship was not established. The court also held that the BIA's weighing of hardship factors was a discretionary determination beyond the court's jurisdiction. Finally, the court held that the BIA did not abuse its considerable discretion in concluding that petitioner failed to provide any new and previously unavailable evidence regarding his qualifying relative. View "Campos-Julio v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied petitions for review of the BIA's denial of petitioner's application for cancellation of removal (No. 18-1531) and denial of his motion to reopen and reconsider (No. 18-3164). The court affirmed the BIA's denial of petitioner's application for cancellation of removal, holding that the decision to grant cancellation of removal was a discretionary act by the Attorney General that this court may not review. Furthermore, petitioner had no right to due process in the purely discretionary remedy of cancellation of removal because no constitutionally cognizable liberty interest arose from it, and his claim that the actions of ICE violated his due process rights in his agency proceeding were unavailing. Finally, the court held that it lacked jurisdiction to consider petitioner's claim that the BIA erred in weighing the many factors regarding petitioner's moral character and the relevant hardships. The court also affirmed the BIA's denial of petitioner's motion to reopen and reconsider, holding that petitioner's claim failed because, if the BIA had reopened the case, the issue was whether petitioner was entitled to cancellation of removal–a form of discretionary relief that he has no constitutionally protected interest in receiving. Therefore, the BIA did not abuse its discretion when it declined to reopen and reconsider this case. View "Rodriguez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's final order of removal following her appeal of the IJ's removal order denying her applications for asylum and withholding of removal. The court held that petitioner's Minnesota drug convictions constituted grounds for removal and rejected petitioner's claim that the statute was overbroad and indivisible. The court lacked jurisdiction to review petitioner's claim that she was not subject to removal under 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(6)(A)(i). The court also held that the criminal alien bar precluded the court's review of the BIA's decision on petitioner's applications for asylum and withholding of removal. In this case, petitioner did not qualify for the extraordinary circumstances exception to the one-year deadline for filing an asylum application, and the court lacked jurisdiction to review petitioner's claim that she suffered persecution as a member of a protected group. The court also held that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in declining to terminate the removal proceedings, and petitioner's remaining claims were rejected. View "Villegas Rendon v. Barr" on Justia Law

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After the United States simultaneously prosecuted and removed defendant, he sought to dismiss the indictment. Defendant argued that the Executive Branch violated his rights under the Bail Reform Act (BRA) and the Constitution by simultaneously proceeding with prosecution and removal. The Eighth Circuit held that the BRA and the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) co-exist, and that Subsection 3142(d) of the BRA does not conflict with removal under the INA. The court explained that the subsection regulates a "judicial officer," not an Executive Branch official, like an ICE agent; it requires the judicial officer to provide notice and ten-day detention, so immigration officials may detain a non-citizen defendant who poses a risk of flight or danger, but does not mandate that immigration officials detain then and only then; and, if immigration officials do detain then, the subsection does not state that the judicial officer or prosecution must dismiss criminal charges. Furthermore, if the immigration official does not detain within ten days, the non-citizen defendant shall be treated in accordance with the other provisions. The other provisions of the BRA do no preclude removal under the INA. The court rejected defendant's remaining arguments to the contrary. View "United States v. Pacheco-Poo" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's denial of petitioner's application for asylum based on his claim that he belonged to a particular social group of "individuals with schizophrenia who exhibit erratic behavior." The BIA found that there was no connection between the alleged persecution and the social group. The court held that the BIA did not err in concluding that petitioner failed to establish that he would be subjected to persecution on account of his membership in the alleged social group. In this case, the record was not so substantial that a reasonable factfinder would have to conclude that Mexico's government targets individuals on account of group membership. Rather, the BIA noted that economic considerations, as well as political considerations, contributed substantially to the regrettable institutional conditions. View "Perez-Rodriguez v. Barr" on Justia Law