Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
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The Fifth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's denial of petitioner's motion to reopen her removal proceedings. Petitioner relied in part on the alleged dismantling of institutional protections for women against gender-based violence following a 2009 military coup in Honduras. The court held that the BIA's finding -- that any change in gender-based violence in Honduras was incremental or incidental and not material -- was not supported by the record. In this case, the BIA's complete failure to address uncontroverted evidence of a clearly significant turning point in the country's history and the central role that it played in petitioner's arguments regarding changes in country conditions was an abuse of discretion. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Inestroza-Antonelli v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision dismissing petitioners' appeal of the IJ's denial of their application for relief under, inter alia, the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Petitioners alleged that their due process rights were infringed when the IJ failed to develop the record with respect to their CAT claim and argued that this warrants remand for further consideration. Assuming without deciding that a due process violation occurred, the court held that petitioners failed to show that the outcome of the proceedings would have been different if the IJ had developed the record further. View "Arteaga-Ramirez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied the petition for review of the BIA's final order dismissing petitioner's appeal from the IJ's denial of her claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and Convention Against Torture (CAT) relief. The court held that the BIA and the IJ did not err in considering petitioner's credible fear interview when determining her lack of credibility; the court lacked jurisdiction to review petitioner's challenge to the standard of review applied by the BIA in upholding the IJ's adverse credibility determination; to the extent petitioner asserts that the BIA must rely on all of the IJ's findings in support of an adverse credibility determination, she points to no authority to support this proposition; and, considering the totality of the circumstances, no factfinder was compelled to conclude that petitioner was credible. View "Avelar-Oliva v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's order of removal under Section 241 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and Section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act. The court held that, although petitioner's state law conviction is not a facial categorical match to the federal schedule of controlled substances, there is no realistic probability that Texas courts will apply its statute to conduct that falls outside of the scope of the federal analog; petitioner is ineligible for withholding of removal because his state law conviction is a "particularly serious crime" within the meaning of the statute; and petitioner's due process rights were not violated where, as a pro se litigant, petitioner successfully secured an initial stay of removal from this court and none of the perceived hindrances he pointed out stopped him from being able to research the law, draft, mail and file his pleadings, and appeal his claims for the better part of four years without the assistance of legal counsel. View "Vetcher v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied petitions for review challenging the BIA's decision denying petitioner relief from an order of removal in absentia. The court agreed with the BIA that petitioner's ten year delay in filing his motion to reopen was inexcusable. In this case, when petitioner discovered that he had been ordered removed in absentia, he could have immediately applied to reopen his proceedings. However, petitioner did not and lost his chance to have his case administratively closed. Furthermore, when petitioner moved to reopen, he could have raised all his arguments in the first motion. Petitioner failed to do so and thus he lost his chance to have half of his arguments decided on the merits. View "Mejia v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision denying petitioner's motion to reopen her removal proceedings. The court held that the information statutorily required to be contained in a notice to appear (NTA) may be supplied in more than one document. The court also held that an NTA is perfected, and the stop-time rule is triggered, when the alien receives all required information, whether in one document or more. The court held that the BIA did not abuse its discretion by failing to reopen petitioner's removal proceedings to allow her to seek cancellation of removal or to rescind the in absentia order of removal. In this case, the document petitioner received perfected her initial NTA by providing proper notice of her removal hearing and terminated her "continued presence" in the United States pursuant to the stop-time rule, precluding her eligibility for cancellation of removal. View "Yanez-Pena v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision upholding the IJ's denial of petitioner's asylum application. The BIA concluded that petitioner's status as a legal permanent resident (LPR) ended his status as an asylee. Petitioner argued that, at the time of his drug convictions, he was both an LPR and an asylee. The court held that petitioner's voluntary and successful adjustment to LPR status ended his status as an asylee. In this case, upon successfully adjusting to LPR status, petitioner lost asylee status and thus to avoid removal, he needed to reapply for asylum before a second IJ. The court also held that the first IJ's decision lacked preclusive effect because the REAL ID Act changed the law. View "Ali v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded the district court's dismissal of a 2018 indictment charging defendant with illegal reentry in violation of 8 U.S.C. 1326. The court agreed with the government's contention that the district court erred in sustaining defendant's collateral attack on his underlying 2013 deportation order and dismissing the 2018 illegal-reentry indictment. In this case, the district court found that the IJ and the BIA erroneously classified bail jumping as an aggravated felony and the error led the IJ not to consider defendant's claims for asylum and withholding of removal. The court disagreed with the district court for two reasons: first, the district court diluted the actual prejudice standard; and second, applying the correct actual-prejudice standard, the record foreclosed any notion that defendant likely would have escaped deportation either through asylum or withholding of removal. The court saw nothing in the record indicating that defendant was likely eligible for asylum or withholding of removal. Therefore, even assuming the IJ and BIA erred in classifying defendant's bail jumping conviction as an aggravated felony, defendant still could not show actual prejudice under section 1326(d). View "United States v. Ramirez-Cortinas" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the denial of petitioner and her son's requests for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). As a preliminary matter, the court held that the notices petitioner and her son received satisfied the relevant regulations and the IJ had jurisdiction over her case. The court held that the evidence did not compel a finding in petitioner's favor on either her asylum or withholding of removal requests. Assuming validity of her membership in a particular social group and her political belief in the rule of law, the court held that substantial evidence supported the IJ's finding that petitioner failed to show a connection between them and any persecution she has faced or will face. Furthermore, substantial evidence supported the IJ's denial of protection under the CAT, because petitioner failed to show that it was more likely than not that she would be tortured if she returned to Honduras, and failed to point to evidence establishing that Honduran authorities would acquiesce to the torture of her and her son. View "Martinez-Lopez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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After petitioner was ordered removed by DHS because he violated the terms of his admission under the Visa Waiver Program, he filed a motion to reopen. An ICE Deputy Field Officer Director denied petitioner's motion and petitioner appealed. The Fifth Circuit dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction because it called for judicial review of a denial of a motion that petitioner was not entitled to file. The court held that, as a Visa Waiver Program participant, petitioner was limited to contesting his removal on the basis of an application for asylum and he has conceded that he was not seeking asylum. Therefore, the statute on its face barred petitioner from challenging his deprivation of a hearing by means of a motion to reopen. Furthermore, petitioner's reliance on the carve-out in 8 U.S.C. 1231(a)(5) was unavailing. View "Lavery v. Barr" on Justia Law