Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
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Plaintiff, a former alien detainee, filed suit alleging that CoreCivic's work programs are not voluntary. Plaintiff claimed that CoreCivic forced her to clean detention facilities, cook meals for company events, engage in clerical work, provide barber services for fellow detainees, maintain landscaping, and other labors. Furthermore, if she refused, CoreCivic would impose more severe living conditions, physical restraints, and deprivation of basic human needs.The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of CoreCivic's motion to dismiss under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), 18 U.S.C. 1589(a). The court concluded that sections 1589(a) and 1595 impose civil liability on "[w]hoever knowingly provides or obtains the labor or services of a person by any one of, or by any combination of" four coercive methods. The court rejected CoreCivic's contention that this language does not capture labor performed in work programs in a federal immigration detention setting. The court explained that nothing in the text supports this claim; CoreCivic is clearly an entity covered by the term "whoever;" and it has clearly "obtain[ed]" the labor of these alien detainees. The court rejected CoreCivic's remaining claims to the contrary and declined to apply the rule of lenity. Because on its face section 1589 unambiguously protects labor performed in work programs in federal immigration detention facilities, the court concluded that the "judicial inquiry is complete." View "Gonzalez v. CoreCivic, Inc." on Justia Law

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On remand from the Supreme Court, the Fifth Circuit denied the petition for review challenging the BIA's denial of equitable tolling to petitioner's motion to reopen in light of Lugo-Resendez v. Lynch, 831 F.3d 337 (5th Cir. 2016). A panel of this court dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction, but the Supreme Court reversed and remanded.The Board had concluded that petitioner did not demonstrate due diligence because he waited approximately eight months after the Fifth Circuit decided Lugo-Resendez to file his current motion. Now considering the merits, the Fifth Circuit explained that the Board's conclusion applies with even grater force in light of the conclusion in Londono-Gonzalez v. Barr, 978 F.3d 965, 968 (5th Cir. 2020), that Lugo-Resendez did not constitute an extraordinary circumstance that stood in the way of aliens seeking equitable tolling. Furthermore, petitioner presented no viable alternative from which he can show compliance with the 90-day filing deadline even with the benefit of equitable tolling. View "Ovalles v. Rosen" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit dismissed as moot a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming petitioner's motions for continuance pending resolution of his T visa application, withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture, as well as the BIA's dismissal of his appeal. After the BIA's decision, petitioner's T visa application was denied and he was removed to Mexico. The court dismissed the petition as moot because the court can no longer grant petitioner any effectual relief. The court reasoned that, even if it decided that the BIA erred in denying petitioner withholding of removal, he would still be subject to the February 2012 removal order and thus inadmissible to the United States. Furthermore, in his supplemental letter, petitioner identifies no collateral legal consequence from the denial of withholding. View "Mendoza-Flores v. Rosen" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a federal prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a mandamus action in the district court, seeking an order to compel USCIS officials to travel to federal prison in order to administer the oath of citizenship to him. Plaintiff alleged that USCIS unlawfully withheld or unreasonably delayed the administration of his oath under section 706(1) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claim under 28 U.S.C. 1915A(b)(1) for failure to state a claim for relief and denial of his subsequent motion for reconsideration. Contrary to defendant's contention, the district court did consider defendant's APA claim before dismissing it. The district court dismissed after determining that his section 706(1) claim could not proceed. The court explained that when plaintiff appears before USCIS officials, they must administer the oath to him. But the manner in which USCIS administers the oath, including where within the United States that administration occurs, is left to the agency's discretion. In this case, plaintiff cannot show a clear right to relief and thus he is not entitled to a writ of mandamus. Finally, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff leave to amend the complaint. View "Mendoza-Tarango v. Flores" on Justia Law

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Petitioners appealed the dismissal of their petitions for habeas corpus. Petitioners claimed that their due process rights had been violated by failure to honor the parole notice, that federal statutes and regulations created a right to parole based on the parole notices they had received, that the parole notices should be honored under customary international law, and that a legitimate expectation of parole had been created. Within two weeks after the petition was filed, ICE released petitioners from custody but not on parole. The district court determined that petitioners' release from detention rendered the habeas petition moot, and ordered that the government provide petitioners or their attorneys with written notice that their parole had been terminated. The district court subsequently dismissed the habeas petition.The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal and rejected petitioners' argument that their inability to seek work authorization is a collateral consequence that should allow them to maintain their petition. The court was not convinced that aliens who are released from ICE custody can maintain a habeas petition by showing collateral consequences. Furthermore, even if they could demonstrate collateral consequences, they have not done so here because any work authorization is subject to USCIS discretion. View "Bacilio-Sabastian v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied the petition for review of the BIA's adverse credibility determination, decision to deny withholding of removal relief, denial of petitioner's claim under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), and denial of petitioner's motion to remand for reconsideration.The court held that substantial evidence supported the agency's adverse credibility determination where the IJ identified numerous omissions and inconsistencies, several of which petitioner does not dispute occurred. In regard to withholding removal, at bottom, the court agreed with the Board's conclusion that petitioner's first proposed social group—Honduran women who have been targeted for and resisted gang recruitment after the murder of a gang-associated partner—is not cognizable. The court also agreed with the Board that petitioner failed to show her membership in her second proposed social group: Honduran women in domestic relationships who are unable to leave or are viewed as property by virtue of their position in a domestic relationship. In regard to petitioner's CAT claim, the court rejected petitioner's claim that the Board erred by failing to meaningfully consider all the evidence submitted and found the Board's conclusion that petitioner did not prove requisite state action is supported by substantial evidence. Finally, the Board did not engage in impermissible factfinding and the Board did not abuse its discretion in not remanding the case for consideration of new evidence. View "Suate-Orellana v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Two years after the Fifth Circuit held that it lacked jurisdiction to review the denial of petitioner's motion to reopen because he had committed an offense covered in 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii), the Supreme Court issued Guerrero-Lasprilla v. Barr, 140 S. Ct. 1062, 1068 (2020). In Guerrero-Lasprilla, the Court held that even in cases involving aliens who are removable for having committed certain crimes, courts of appeals have jurisdiction to consider constitutional claims or questions of law. Therefore, the Supreme Court concluded that courts of appeals have jurisdiction to determine whether an undisputed set of facts demonstrates diligence on the part of an alien requesting equitable tolling.On remand from the Supreme Court, the Fifth Circuit held that the BIA did not err in measuring petitioner's diligence from the issuance of Carranza-De Salinas v. Holder, 700 F.3d 768, 773–75 (5th Cir. 2012), in which this court held that the repeal of former Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act could not be retroactively applied to aliens in petitioner's position. The court rejected petitioner's contention that the extraordinary circumstances that stood in his way was the fact that he was prohibited from filing a motion to reopen prior to this court's decision in Lugo-Resendez v. Lynch, 831 F.3d 337, 339 (5th Cir. 2016). The court explained that, contrary to petitioner's view, Lugo-Resendez resolved an open question. However, it did not constitute an intervening change in binding precedent. Rather, the intervening changes that affected petitioner's ability to obtain relief were Vartelas v. Holder, 566 U.S. 257, 273–75 (2012), and Carranza-De Salinas. View "Londono-Gonzalez v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit granted the petition for panel rehearing. The court withdrew its prior opinion on May 6, 2020 and substituted the following opinion.Since the prior opinion issued, the Supreme Court decided Nasrallah v. Barr, 140 S. Ct. 1683 (2020), which clarified the meaning of the statutory term "final order of removal." Without expressing an opinion as to whether Nasrallah may have partially abrogated portions of Cardoso v. Reno, 216 F.3d 512 (5th Cir. 2000), the court applied Melendez v. McAleenan, 928 F.3d 425 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 140 S. Ct. 561 (2019), to this case.Plaintiff filed suit seeking review of USCIS's legal determination declaring him ineligible for adjustment to permanent status. Although plaintiff had been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS), he had entered the United States illegally, which would ordinarily bar the adjustment of status. The court dismissed plaintiff's complaint with prejudice; reversed the district court's holding that it lacked jurisdiction; and asserted the court's own jurisdiction over plaintiff's claim. The court followed Melendez in holding that plaintiff sought review of the government's legal interpretation of statutory provisions that govern TPS and adjustment of status. The court explained that, because this is a "pure legal task," it is a nondiscretionary decision that is not barred by the jurisdiction-stripping statute, and thus the district court erred in concluding that it did not have jurisdiction to hear plaintiff's claims. The court also held that plaintiff has failed to state a legally cognizable claim under Melendez. The court explained that those with TPS who first entered the United States unlawfully are foreclosed from applying for adjustment of status as a matter of law. View "Nolasco v. Crockett" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' 8 U.S.C. 1503 claim and motion to reinstate or refile the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) claims.The court held that plaintiffs forfeited their claim that the time bar in Gonzalez v. Limon, 926 F.3d 186 (5th Cir. 2019), should not apply and that the APA claims should be restored because section 1503 is not an adequate remedy for the denial of their visas. The court has previously held that section 1503 supplied "an adequate alternative remedy" for challenges to failed passport applications, and the fact that plaintiffs allowed the limitations period to run does not make section 1503 inadequate. Therefore, plaintiffs' section 1503 claim is time-barred under Gonzalez and the district court properly dismissed it; the time bar did not make plaintiffs' section 1503 remedy inadequate and hence did not require the district court to reinstate the APA claims; and because the APA claims would not have survived a renewed motion to dismiss, any amendment to the complaint would have been futile. View "Martinez v. Pompeo" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied petitions for review of the BIA's dismissal of petitioner's appeal of the IJ's denial of asylum. The court held that the evidence does not compel a reasonable factfinder to conclude that petitioner has demonstrated he was persecuted in the People's Republic of China because of his political opinion.The court held that it has no authority to review the Board's decision declining to address the IJ's determinations of a lack of credibility and of corroborative evidence. The court also held that a reasonable factfinder would not be compelled to conclude that petitioner was persecuted for political rather than personal reasons, and thus he has not met his burden for his asylum petition. View "Changsheng Du v. Barr" on Justia Law