Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

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The Eleventh Circuit granted in part a petition for panel rehearing, vacated the prior opinion in this case, and substituted the following opinion. Petitioner sought review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's order of removal. The court held that substantial evidence supported the BIA's finding that petitioner was convicted under Fla. Stat. 893.13(1)(a) (possession with intent to deliver), and not section 893.13(6)(a) (simple possession). Therefore, the court lacked jurisdiction under Immigration and Nationality Act section 242 to grant petitioner relief on this claim and dismissed the petition for review in part. The court held that DHS was not required to file a cross-appeal to advance its controlled substance argument on appeal to the BIA, and the BIA did not err in considering that argument. The court also held that Flunitrazepam is a controlled substance, and the BIA did not err in denying petitioner's motion for a remand to pursue a section 212(h) waiver. Accordingly, the court denied the petition in part. View "Bula Lopez v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision denying petitioner's application for asylum, withholding of removal, and humanitarian asylum. The court held that the IJ and BIA reasonably determined that petitioner failed to demonstrate that "Mexican citizens targeted by criminal groups because they have been in the United States and they have families in the United States" were viewed as a socially distinct group in Mexico and that the group was not defined with sufficient particularity. Even if the court were to hold that the agencies' decisions did not merit deference, the court would reach the same conclusion. Furthermore, petitioner failed to establish a nexus between the persecution suffered, the persecution she claims she will suffer, and any other statutorily protected grounds for asylum. View "Perez-Zenteno v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's dismissal of petitioner's appeal based on the ineffective assistance of counsel. Petitioner claimed that counsel misled her into accepting voluntary departure by telling her she would immediately be deported if she did not accept it. The court held that petitioner bore the burden of producing a transcript of the hearing and, because she did not produce a transcript, the court found that it could rely on the IJ's reconstruction of the record. However, in this case, the IJ's reconstruction may be incomplete and the court was unable to fully assess petitioner's voluntariness in regard to her acceptance of a voluntary departure. Therefore, the court remanded to the BIA to determine the full scope of that issue. View "Flores-Panameno v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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A lawful permanent resident alien who has already been admitted to the United States -- who is not currently seeking admission or readmission -- can, for stop-time purposes, be rendered inadmissible by virtue of a qualifying criminal conviction. The Eleventh Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision that petitioner was barred from seeking cancellation of removal. The court held that the BIA correctly concluded that petitioner was ineligible for cancellation of removal because the stop-time rule -- triggered when he committed a crime involving moral turpitude in January 1996 -- ended his continuous residence a few months shy of the required seven-year period. View "Barton v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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Meridor arrived in the U.S. about 25 years ago as a political refugee from Haiti and applied for political asylum. He withdrew his application after it lingered for many years. In 2013, DHS notified Meridor that he was subject to removal as a foreign national without a valid visa or passport, and because he had convictions for a crime of moral turpitude and controlled-substance offenses. Meridor applied for asylum and for withholding of removal. An IJ agreed that Meridor was removable and denied his requests for asylum and withholding of removal. Meridor moved for reconsideration, but before the IJ ruled, Meridor applied to USCIS for a U visa (available to certain crime victims). The IJ terminated his removal proceedings, and, acting as the Attorney General’s delegate, stated that she had jurisdiction over the waiver application. Before the IJ could issue a written opinion, USCIS denied Meridor’s applications for a U visa and waiver of inadmissibility. Three weeks later, the IJ granted the waiver, citing “extraordinary circumstances.” The BIA reversed the IJ’s decision, holding that only DHS can grant waivers of inadmissibility for U visa applications and that Meridor did not merit such a waiver. The Eleventh Circuit vacated. The plain language of 8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(3)(A) gives IJs authority to grant waivers of inadmissibility and the BIA committed legal error in reaching its alternative holding on the merits. View "Meridor v. United States Attorney General" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for unlawful procurement of naturalization because he concealed from immigration authorities his past as a guard at a Serbian prison camp. The court held that the district court did not err when it prevented defendant from presenting hearsay statements of foreign witnesses who were unavailable to testify at trial; defendant failed to demonstrate that his constitutional right to present a complete defense was violated under Chambers v. Mississippi, 410 U.S. 284 (1973); assuming arguendo that the Geneva Convention could be judicially noticed, the district court did not err in determining that its probative value was substantially outweighed by the possibility of confusing the issues and potentially misleading the jury; and the district court did not violate defendant's rights under Chambers when it declined to take judicial notice. View "United States v. Mitrovic" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit granted respondents' motion to dismiss this appeal as moot and vacated the prior published opinion. In this case, petitioner was removed from the United States and was no longer detained in immigration custody. Both sides agree that the appeal has become moot. View "Sopo v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit held that substantial evidence supported the BIA's decision that petitioner had not suffered past persecution by the Cameroonian police and that he lacked a well-founded fear of future persecution. The court held that the BIA was entitled to find that any mistreatment petitioner suffered did not rise to the level of persecution, to find that the police investigated his mistreatment, and to rely on country reports published by the State Department stating that conditions in Cameroon were improving for gay individuals. Finally, petitioner was not denied due process. Accordingly, the court denied his petition for review. View "Sama v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's order of removal based on his five criminal convictions for drug offenses under Florida Statute 893.13. The court held that the BIA did not err in concluding that petitioner was ineligible for cancellation of removal because his Florida conviction for sale of cocaine, in violation of Fla. Stat. 893.13(1)(a)(1), constituted "illicit trafficking" within the meaning of 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(B). View "Choizilme v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's order of removal based on his five criminal convictions for drug offenses under Florida Statute 893.13. The court held that the BIA did not err in concluding that petitioner was ineligible for cancellation of removal because his Florida conviction for sale of cocaine, in violation of Fla. Stat. 893.13(1)(a)(1), constituted "illicit trafficking" within the meaning of 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(B). View "Choizilme v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law