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 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

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review challenging the BIA's decision reversing the IJ's ruling that petitioner merited asylum because he had a well-founded fear of future persecution in Nigeria for his political opinions. The court held that, despite the harmless error of substituting its own findings about communicating his political opinions, substantial evidence supported the BIA's determination that petitioner was ineligible for asylum, because he failed to show that he faced a particularized threat of persecution. Furthermore, the BIA did not exceed its authority by requiring corroborating evidence for petitioner to meet his burden of proof. The court also held that petitioner could not show that the outcome of proceedings would have differed with notice and opportunity, and thus he failed to demonstrate prejudice from any procedural error. View "Uzodinma v. Barr" on Justia Law

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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