Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
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The Eighth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's dismissal of petitioner's appeal of an IJ's order denying asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court held that the IJ relied on personal beliefs and perceived common knowledge to reach unfounded adverse conclusions regarding petitioner's faith, and the IJ gave no weight to translation issues in the proceeding. Consequently, the IJ's credibility determinations were not supported by cogent reasons for disbelief and the BIA erred in upholding these findings. The panel vacated the removal order and remanded for a new credibility determination. View "Jinfeng Tian v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision upholding the IJ's determination that petitioner was removable. The court held that petitioner failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with regard to his challenge to the determination that his firearm offense was a particularly serious crime; petitioner's argument regarding the purported futility of raising the issue to the BIA was unpersuasive; the IJ acted within its authority by considering the facts and circumstances set forth in the criminal complaint; the unlawful-possession-of-a-firearm offense qualified as a particularly serious crime and barred withholding of removal; and there was no reviewable claim of error in regard to the BIA's denial of relief under the Convention Against Torture. View "Marambo v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's conclusion that petitioner was ineligible for adjustment of status because he had previously provided material support to a terrorist organization. The court held that petitioner failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the material support bar did not apply. In this case, he failed to show that the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) he supported was not a terrorist organization, or that he did not know and should not reasonably have known that MFDC was a terrorist organization when he supported it. Finally, collateral estoppel and the law-of-the-case doctrine did not apply because the issue was not previously determined by a valid and final judgment. View "N'Diaye v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision upholding the IJ's conclusion that petitioner was ineligible for cancellation of removal because of a prior conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude. The court held that petitioner's conviction under Nebraska law for making a false statement to a peace officer is a crime involving moral turpitude that renders a petitioner statutorily ineligible for cancellation of removal. Therefore, the IJ and BIA correctly determined that petitioner was ineligible for cancellation of removal. View "Adame-Hernandez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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A proceeding in the district court under 8 U.S.C. 1447(b) does not become moot when the USCIS purports to deny a naturalization application after the applicant has already initiated the court proceeding. In this case, after USCIS failed to reach a decision in plaintiff's citizenship application within 120 days, he filed suit under section 1447(b) to seek a decision in the matter. While the action was pending, USCIS denied the application. Looking to the text and context of the statute, the Eighth Circuit held that USCIS's purported denial of plaintiff's naturalization application after he initiated a district court proceeding under section 1447(b) did not render the case moot. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Haroun v. DHS" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied the petition for review of the BIA's decision denying petitioner and her children and mother asylum and withholding of removal. The court held that substantial evidence supported the BIA's determination that petitioners did not experience past persecution or face the requisite risk of future persecution on account of a protected basis. In this case, petitioner did not belong to the asserted particular social group of "women who are in abusive relationships in Mexico that they can't leave." Furthermore, substantial evidence supported the BIA's determination that the mother was not persecuted on account of her familiar relationship with petitioner. Finally, the BIA did not err in denying withholding of removal where an alien who fails to prove eligibility for asylum cannot meet the burden of withholding of removal. View "Wences Godinez 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 motion to reopen in abstentia deportation proceedings from 1994. The court held that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to reopen based on a claim of lack of notice, because he had previously admitted in his first motion to reopen that he had received notice and his attorney's admission was binding absent a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, which was not present here. Finally, the court lacked jurisdiction to review the BIA's refusal to sua sponte reopen the proceedings. View "Gonzalez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of DHS's reinstatement of a prior order for petitioner's removal and the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's denial of his applications for withholding of removal and deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court held that it lacked jurisdiction to review the reinstatement of the prior removal order because the issue was not exhausted; petitioner failed to show prejudice and could not succeed on his claim that DHS violated his due process rights by continuing to interrogate him without his attorney present; and petitioner failed to exhaust his administrative remedies regarding his claims for withholding of removal and protection under the CAT. In this case, petitioner failed to make a showing that the Guatemalan government would be unable or unwilling to protect him from a loan shark, and petitioner failed to make any meaningful argument to the BIA regarding his CAT claim. View "Mendez-Gomez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's order denying petitioner's motion to reopen. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying the motion to reopen because petitioner failed to demonstrate prima facie eligibility for relief. In this case, the IJ and BIA permissibly determined that petitioner's evidence of vague and unfulfilled threats failed to establish past persecution. Furthermore, the IJ and BIA also permissibly determined that petitioner's evidence of general crime and violence in Mexico failed to establish a well-founded fear of future persecution based on his alleged involvement with the Christian anti-drug group. Finally, the court found no denial of due process in petitioner's earlier proceedings. View "Rivera-Guerrero v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit joined the BIA and a unanimous chorus of other circuits that have considered and rejected the argument that a notice to appear that, like petitioner's, does not contain the time and place of removal proceeding is not valid. The court rejected petitioner's claim that a court utilizing such a notice fails to obtain subject matter jurisdiction at its inception and so the entire proceedings and any subsequent removal order are invalid. Determining that it had jurisdiction over the petition for review, the court held that the BIA did not abuse its discretion by denying petitioner's motion to reopen. The court explained that the BIA need not list every possible argument for and against its decision, and it need not write an exegesis on every contention. Furthermore, the BIA's opinion in this case makes clear that it heard and considered petitioner's arguments. Finally, the court rejected petitioner's due process and equal protection challenges. View "Ali v. Barr" on Justia Law