Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

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Petitioner, a native and citizen of Honduras, sought review of the BIA's decision denying his motion to reopen his removal proceedings so that he could apply for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The Fifth Circuit held that the BIA acted within its discretion in declining to reopen petitioner's in absentia removal proceedings based on lack of notice. The court did not reach the merits of petitioner's claim contending that the BIA abused its discretion denying his motion to reopen because the court lacked jurisdiction under 8 U.S.C. 1231(a)(5), over this question of fact. The court also held that petitioner's contention that the BIA violated his due process rights was unavailing, because this court has held that no liberty interest existed in a motion to reopen, and therefore due process claims were not cognizable in the context of reopening proceedings. The court rejected petitioner's remaining claims and dismissed the petition in part and denied it in part. View "Mejia v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision denying petitioner's application for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court affirmed the BIA's adverse credibility determination and held that it was supported by substantial evidence. In this case, the BIA catalogued numerous, specific inconsistencies in petitioner's presentation, and it identified crucial omissions in statements submitted by petitioner and in third parties' supporting affidavits. Furthermore, given the reiterative content of documents and the BIA's extensive credibility assessment, the BIA did not fail to give full and fair consideration of all circumstances that gave rise to petitioner's claims. View "Ghotra v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of an action brought by the State of Texas, seeking a declaratory judgment under 28 U.S.C. 2201 that SB 4 -- which curbs sanctuary city policies by requiring law enforcement agencies to comply with, honor, and fulfill federal immigration detainer requests -- does not violate the Fourth or Fourteenth Amendments and is not preempted by federal law. Although the district court held that Texas lacked Article III standing to seek declaratory judgment, the court held that the district court lacked federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1331 in light of Franchise Tax Board of the State of California v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust for Southern California, 463 U.S. 1 (1983). In Franchise Tax Board, the Supreme Court held that section 1331's grant of federal question jurisdiction does not encompass suits by the States to declare the validity of their regulation despite possibly conflicting federal law. The court explained that Franchise Tax Board reinforces comity among federal and state courts and mandates that the court dismiss Texas's declaratory relief action. View "Texas v. Travis County" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's deportation order. The court held that the BIA erred in construing 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii) to apply to an individual who was a naturalized citizen at the time of conviction. In this case, petitioner was not rendered an "alien" at the time of conviction by nature of his subsequent ab initio denaturalization. Therefore, petitioner was not subject to deportation under section 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii) because he was a naturalized citizen at the time he was convicted. View "Okpala v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for review of a final order of removal issued by the BIA. Petitioner claimed that he never received notice of his removal hearing. The court held that petitioner failed to provide the immigration court with his correct mailing address, and failed to rebut the weak presumption of delivery of his notice of hearing. View "Mauricio-Benitez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit held that, because 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(II) does not overcome the presumption against retroactivity, applying it to petitioner was impermissibly retroactive. The court granted the petition for review of the BIA's order finding petitioner inadmissible based on his conviction for possessing AB-CHMINACA in violation of Louisiana Revised Statutes 40.966(C). After petitioner's arrest, but before his conviction, AB-CHMINACA was added to the federal schedules of controlled substances. The court reasoned that, for purposes of retroactivity analysis, it is the timing of the defendant's conduct, not of his conviction, that controls. In this case, when petitioner possessed AB-CHMINACA, he had no notice that such a crime carried the consequence of inadmissibility. View "Lopez Ventura v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's denial of petitioner's motion to reopen. In this case, petitioner's application for cancellation of removal was denied for reasons that have since become legally infirm. However, petitioner reentered the country illegally rather than challenge his removal from abroad. Petitioner was re-apprehended by immigration authorities more than a decade later. The court held that his original order of removal was not subject to being reopened because he conceded that he had reentered the United States illegally after having been removed. View "Rodriguez-Saragosa v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of an action, based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction, brought by children to halt the deportation of their father. The children argued that their father's deportation was arbitrary and violated their rights to familial association under the First and Fifth Amendments, and that his selective removal was because of his Hispanic origin and violated the equal-protection aspect of the Fifth Amendment. The court held that the children's familial-association claim raised a legal question squarely within 8 U.S.C. 1252(b)(9), which operated as an unmistakable zipper clause designed to consolidate and channel review of all legal and factual questions that arose from the removal of an alien through the preordained administrative process. Consequently, because the familial-association question reached the courts outside the prescribed administrative process, this court had no jurisdiction to consider it. The court also held that the children's selective-enforcement claim concerned how the Government chose to enforce already-issued removal orders. Therefore, these claims arose from a decision to execute removal orders and 8 U.S.C. 1252(g) generally barred judicial review of such claims. View "Vega Duron v. Johnson" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's order affirming the IJ's decision denying petitioner's application for asylum and withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court held that DHS failed to produce substantial evidence to show that petitioner, a 21 year old Sikh belonging to the Mann Party, was safely able to relocate within India to avoid further persecution and that it was reasonable for him to do so. Therefore, substantial evidence did not support the IJ's conclusion that DHS rebutted the regulatory presumption and thus the court remanded to the agency to exercise its discretion with regards to petitioner's asylum claim. View "Singh v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, who were each over the age of 18, had filed Suits Affecting Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR). In the SAPCR suits, the state courts awarded child support and made certain findings. After plaintiffs received the state court SAPCR orders, they filed Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status petitions with USCIS, which were subsequently denied. Plaintiffs then filed suit in district court seeking declaratory relief regarding the definition of "child" under Texas state law and the proper interpretation and application of the terms "juvenile court" and "dependent," as those terms were defined by federal law. The district court granted defendants' motion to dismiss, concluding that the SAPCR orders were not proper ones to support SIJ status. The Fifth Circuit affirmed and held that USCIS properly determined that the state court orders for child support were not the equivalent of the necessary "care and custody" rulings required for SIJ status; the court rejected plaintiffs' claim that the district court relied on reasoning not employed by the agency when upholding the USCIS decision; and USCIS's denials were not arbitrary and capricious. The court denied plaintiffs' motion to supplement and rejected plaintiffs' claim that the district court failed to consider the entire administrative record. View "Budhathoki v. Nielsen" on Justia Law