Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
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Petitioner petitioned for review of a decision that she is ineligible to have her removal order canceled. The Fifth Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition. The court explained that Petitioner is ineligible for any relief because her removal order was reinstated after she illegally reentered the country following a prior removal.   The court concluded that the BIA correctly determined that Petitioner is ineligible to be considered for cancelation of removal. She has never challenged the order reinstating her removal. The reinstatement statute prevents her from getting any immigration “relief.” And cancelation of removal is a form of relief. Accordingly, the court denied her petition. View "Ruiz-Perez v. Garland" on Justia Law

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Petitioner petitioned for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). The order dismissed his appeal of an Immigration Judge’s denials of his claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. He presented several procedural and substantive challenges on appeal.   The Fifth Circuit dismissed the petition for review in part for lack of jurisdiction  and denied in part. The court explained that the BIA did not specifically discuss the IJ’s interpretation of the evidence, but it did reference the particular testimony on the severity of his attacks, the police involvement, and the affidavits that Petitioner alleged the IJ misconstrued. Even if the BIA did not agree with Petitioner’s contention about mischaracterizations, the BIA did mention the evidence that Petitioner alleges it failed to consider meaningfully. This is sufficient.    Finally, the court concluded, that it was reasonable for the BIA to conclude that the new evidence Petitioner presented would not change the outcome of his case. The medical evaluation Petitioner sought to submit would not have altered his case because the evaluation did not discuss symptoms and injuries related to the BJP attacks. Further, it was reasonable for the BIA to conclude Petitioner’s new declaration or affidavits would not have influenced his case, considering he already supplied a declaration and his testimony describing his injuries as minor could not be remedied with his additional evidence. View "Kumar v. Garland" on Justia Law

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Petitioner a native and citizen of Guatemala, petitions for review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissing his appeal of an immigration judge’s (IJ) denial of his application for cancellation of removal. Petitioner contended that the BIA erred in concluding that he failed to demonstrate that his stepchildren are United States citizens, and thus “qualifying relatives” for purposes of his application, and by improperly reviewing the IJ’s findings of fact de novo. He also asserted that the BIA’s interpretation of 8 U.S.C. Section 1229b(b)(1)(D) violates the Fifth Amendment as it has been construed to guarantee equal protection.   The Fifth Circuit denied the petition. The court concluded that Section1229b(b)(1)(D)’s requirement that an alien demonstrate “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” to a qualifying relative, irrespective of hardship suffered by the alien, passes constitutional muster. In enacting the “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” standard, Congress thus emphasized that an alien must provide evidence of harm to a qualifying relative substantially beyond that which ordinarily would be expected due to the alien’s deportation. The court further explained that Congress’s articulated justification provides a “reasonably conceivable state of facts that could provide a rational basis” for the hardship requirement, and Petitioner’s argument on this issue lacks merit. View "Agustin-Matias v. Garland" on Justia Law

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Petitioner and her minor daughter petition for review of the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals denying their motion to reopen removal proceedings to allow them to apply for cancellation of removal. The Fifth Circuit granted the petition for review and remanded to the Board of Immigration Appeals for further proceedings.   The court explained that an abuse of discretion occurs if the BIA’s decision “is capricious, irrational, utterly without foundation in the evidence, based on legally erroneous interpretations of statutes or regulations, or based on unexplained departures from regulations or established policies. That standard is met here because the BIA’s decision to deny Petitioner’s motion to reopen was based on a legally erroneous interpretation of the statutes governing Notices to Appear and the stop-time rule. View "Parada v. Garland" on Justia Law

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Defendant pleaded guilty to illegally reentering the United States post-removal in violation of 8 U.S.C. Section 1326(a). He was sentenced to twenty-one months of imprisonment and one year of supervised release. During his sentencing hearing, the district court stated that it was imposing the “standard and mandatory conditions of supervision.” Defendant did not object. The written judgment included the standard risk notification condition contained in U.S.S.G. Section 5D1.3(c)(12). Defendant subsequently appealed the imposition of this condition, claiming that the district court plainly erred by impermissibly delegating its judicial authority to a probation officer.The Fifth Circuit affirmed. In considering United States v. Mejia-Banegas, 32 F.4th 450 (5th Cir. 2022), the court wrote that in that case, the court unequivocally held that the same “risk-notification condition does not impermissibly delegate the court’s judicial authority to the probation officer. The court held that Mejia-Banegas conclusively resolves Defendant’s appeal: The risk-notification condition is not an impermissible delegation of judicial authority. View "USA v. Pinon-Saldana" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a citizen of Mexico, entered the United States in 1990 with a border-crossing card. On August 21, 2014, the DHS initiated a case by issuing Petitioner a notice to appear (“NTA”). The NTA did not state a specific date or time for Petitioner's hearing, noting only that he was to appear before an immigration judge “on a date to be set at a time to be set.” However, the notice provided that Petitioner was given oral notice of the specific date he was supposed to appear. Petitioner appeared, conceded he was removable, and indicated he would seek cancelation of removal on the basis that his children “[would] suffer extreme, unusual and exceptional hardship if [he was] deported.”After the hearing, an immigration judge found that Petitioner did not qualify for cancellation of removal because 1.) he had not proven by a preponderance of the evidence that he had been a person of good moral character for the previous ten years and 2.) he had not met his burden of proving that his children would suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship if he were removed to Mexico. The Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed and Petitioner appealed to the Fifth Circuit.The Fifth Circuit concluded that Petitioner's challenge to the NTA in that it was defective for failing to list the place and time of his removal hearing were unexhausted. Further, the court found that Petitioner's extreme-hardship claim fell outside its jurisdiction. View "Castillo-Gutierrez v. Garland" on Justia Law

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Petitioner petitioned for review of a final order of removal issued by the Board of Immigration Appeals, dismissing his appeal from the decision of the immigration judge (“IJ”) to deny his motion to reopen. Petitioner illegally entered the United States, at Laredo, Texas. The Government filed a Notice to Appear (“NTA”) in immigration court and charged Petitioner as removable under 8 U.S.C. Section 1182(a)(6)(A)(i). Petitioner did not appear and was ordered removed in absentia.   Petitioner contends the Fifth Circuit should remand the matter to the Board for reconsideration of his NTA challenge in light of Rodriguez v. Garland, 15 F.4th 351 (5th Cir. 2021). The Fifth Circuit denied the petition for review. The court explained that here, in contrast to Rodriguez, Petitioner received the NTA and does not dispute that he also received the subsequent notice of hearing (NOH). The fact that Petitioner received the NOH (or does not dispute receiving the NOH) makes Rodriguez distinguishable. View "Campos-Chaves v. Garland" on Justia Law

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Petitioner was ordered to be removed from the United States in absentia on June 23, 2006. On August 26, 2019, Petitioner, represented by counsel, filed a motion to reopen the removal proceedings and rescind the in-absentia removal order. The immigration judge (“IJ”) denied that motion, and the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) affirmed. Petitioner petitioned the court to review that affirmance, arguing that the BIA erred in determining that she was not entitled to equitable tolling of the statutory deadline for filing a motion to reopen because, although she had shown exceptional circumstances, she had not shown that she had pursued her rights diligently.   The Fifth Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition to reopen. The court explained that it has authority to review only the final decision of the BIA unless the underlying decision of the IJ influenced the BIA’s decision. Here, the court explained that even accepting arguendo that Petitioner was prevented from participating in the 2006 proceedings or seeking that they are reopened by her abusive partner and that she was traumatized and unable to seek legal help for some time after escaping the abuse, Petitioner admits that she obtained legal representation—from the very same lawyer representing her here—more than two years before filing her motion to reopen the removal proceedings. Thus, the court cannot conclude that the BIA abused its discretion in finding that Petitioner failed to act with reasonable diligence in pursuing her rights. View "Masin-Ventura v. Garland" on Justia Law

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Petitioner alleged that the Angolan government identified her as a supporter of the independence movement after she attended a church-organized, pro-independence rally in 2016. Soon thereafter, three armed men in government uniforms broke into her home and, in front of her children, beat and raped her, leading to a three-day hospital stay. Petitioner claimed, in her asylum application and in sworn testimony before an IJ, that she was never formally a member of FLEC, but rather has only supported independence through peaceful protest and organizing, which is a family tradition of sorts for many Cabindans. However, the IJ interpreted unsworn, nonverbatim statements from Petitioner’s credible fear interview (CFI) as indicating that Petitioner was a member of FLEC. The BIA found this adverse credibility finding reasonable, and affirmed.   The primary issue before the Fifth Circuit was whether the BIA erred in upholding the IJ’s adverse credibility finding. The Fifth Circuit granted Petitioner’s petition for review, vacated the decisions of the BIA and IJ denying Petitioner’s application for asylum and CAT relief, and remanded. The court explained that the BIA and IJ relied heavily on an unsupported conclusion that Petitioner is not a credible witness. At the same time, there appears to be little dispute that, if Petitioner’s claims are true, she would be entitled to asylum under 8 U.S.C. Section 1158(b)(1)(A). As such, the court concluded that the adverse credibility finding is not supported by specific and cogent reasons derived from the record. View "Ndudzi v. Garland" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a Guatemalan citizen, entered the United States through Texas on May 10, 2005. He was detained the next day, but subsequently released on his own recognizance. Petitioner then moved to Connecticut without notifying the court or providing a new address. The court proceeded in absentia and ultimately ordered Petitioner to be removed. Fourteen years later, Petitioner sought to reopen the proceedings and rescind the in absentia order, claiming he did not receive adequate notice of the removal proceedings.The Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") denied relief, and Petitioner filed a petition for review with the Fifth Circuit.The Fifth Circuit denied the Petitioner's petition for review. The court noted that Petitioner did not provide any address, so he may not reopen proceedings on the ground that the date and time of his removal proceeding were not included in his notice to appear. The court also held that the BIA did not err in failing to consider Petitioner's own affidavit because the BIA adequately considered all the evidence presented. View "Gudiel-Villatoro v. Garland" on Justia Law