Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
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The First Circuit denied the petition filed by Petitioner, a Salvadoran national, seeking judicial review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) upholding an adverse decision by an immigration judge (IJ) denying Petitioner's application for withholding of removal, holding that Petitioner was not entitled to relief.Specifically, the First Circuit held (1) substantial evidence in the record supported the agency's determination that Petitioner failed to show an entitlement to withholding of removal based on a clear probability of either past or future religious persecution; (2) Petitioner waived his argument that the BIA erred in rejecting his "social group" claim; and (3) the BIA did not abuse its discretion by not remanding the case to the IJ for further proceedings. View "Sanchez-Vasquez v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner's motion to reopen the BIA's decision denying Petitioner's application for cancellation of his removal, holding that any error was harmless.After Petitioner, a citizen of Guatemala, was issued a notice to appear Petitioner applied for cancellation of his removal under 8 U.S.C. 1229b(b)(1). The immigration judge denied the application, and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed. Petitioner later filed a motion to reopen the BIA decision, arguing that his prior counsel provided ineffective assistance. The BIA denied the motion. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that equitable tolling did not apply to toll the statutory deadline for filing the motion. View "Quiroa-Motta v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for relief from removal on the grounds of asylum, withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act, and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) did not err in affirming the immigration judge's (IJ) decision to deny Petitioner's application.Specifically, the First Circuit held (1) the record did not indicate that Petitioner either faced or would face persecution on the basis of his nationality, his religion, or his political beliefs; and (2) therefore, Petitioner was not able to meet the higher threshold for his claim of withholding of removal and his CAT claim. View "Thile v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the judgment of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the denial of Petitioner's application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that substantial evidence did not support the BIA's decision.The immigration judge (IJ) determined that Petitioner was not a credible witness and therefore found that he had failed to establish his burden of proof with respect to his application. The BIA dismissed Petitioner's appeal, thus declining to remand the case in light of new evidence submitted for the first time on appeal. The First Circuit vacated the BIA's decision, holding that the IJ's adverse credibility finding was not supportable. View "Cuesta-Rojas v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit reversed the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner's request to reopen removal proceedings based on changed country circumstances, holding that the BIA's failure to assess whether certain changes were sufficient was arbitrary and capricious.Petitioner, a native and citizen of Albania, applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture, arguing that he and his family had been persecuted due to Petitioner's support of the Democratic Party in Albania and that the family had a well-founded fear of future persecution. An immigration judge denied relief, and the BIA affirmed. Petitioner later asked the BIA to reopen his case on the ground that government corruption had deteriorated in Albania. The BIA denied the request. The First Circuit reversed, holding that the BIA "exercised its judgment in an arbitrary, capricious, or irrational manner." View "Lucaj v. Wilkinson" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the order of the immigration judge (IJ) denying Petitioner's application for withholding of removal, holding that the IJ and BIA made legal errors.Petitioner, a native and citizen of Honduras, twice entered the United States without authorization. After the government ordered Petitioner removed to Honduras, Petitioner filed an application for withholding of removal. The IJ denied the motion. The BIA affirmed and denied Petitioner's motion to reopen and remand. The First Circuit vacated the removal order and remanded the case to the BIA for further proceedings, holding (1) the BIA erred in dismissing Petitioner's appeal based on her failure to corroborate; and (2) the BIA erred in finding that Petitioner did not adequately apply for relief under the Convention Against Torture. View "Molina-Diaz v. Rosen" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the determination of an immigration judge (IJ) that Petitioners, a husband and wife who were natives and citizens of Brazil, were not eligible for an adjustment of status pursuant to the "grandfathering" provisions of section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), holding that the BIA and IJ did not appropriately focus their inquiry.On appeal, Petitioners argued that the BIA applied incorrect standards in determining that a labor certification application (LCA) filed on behalf of the petitioner husband was not "approvable when filed" and erred in denying their motion to remand. The First Circuit held (1) determining whether an LCA is approvable when filed requires a holistic inquiry that is not a license to deny grandfathering based on any perceived shortcoming in an LCA; and (2) the IJ and BIA did not keep their focus on that inquiry in the course of their evaluation of the petitioner's LCA. View "Oliveira v. Wilkinson" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for judicial review seeking to set aside the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the denial of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and other relief, holding that the BIA's decision must be upheld.On appeal, Petitioner's principal assignment of error challenged the denial of his asylum claim. Petitioner specifically argued against the adverse credibility determination of the immigration judge (IJ), which the BIA upheld. The First Circuit denied the petition for review, holding (1) the IJ's adverse credibility determination was supported by substantial evidence in the record, and therefore, the BIA's denial of Petitioner's asylum claim must be upheld; (2) because Petitioner failed to satisfy the standard required for asylum, his claim for withholding of removal necessarily failed; and (3) Petitioner's claim for CAT protection is deemed abandoned. View "Zaruma-Guaman v. Wilkinson" on Justia Law

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In this civil action brought by plaintiffs seeking to enjoin policies governing searches of electronic devices at the United States' borders, the First Circuit found no violations of either the Fourth Amendment or the First Amendment.The border search policies challenged her allow border agents to perform basic searches of electronic devices without reasonable suspicion and advanced searches with reasonable suspicion. The First Circuit joined the Eleventh Circuit in holding that advanced searches of electronic devices at the border do not require a warrant or probable cause and joined the Ninth and Eleventh Circuits in holding that basic border searches of electronic devices are routine searches that may be performed without reasonable suspicion. The Court then affirmed in part, reversed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the district court, holding that the court erred in narrowing the scope of permissible searches of electronic devices at the border. View "Alasaad v. Wolf" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit granted Petitioner's petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' (BIA) denial of his motion to reopen his removal proceedings and to remand to the immigration judge (IJ) for further consideration, holding that the BIA abused its discretion.Petitioner sought reconsideration due to the fact that he had been placed on a waiting list by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a U-1 nonimmigrant visa pursuant to the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA), 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(U). In denying Petitioner's motion to reopen his removal proceedings, the BIA gave two reasons for its denial. The First Circuit reversed and remanded the case, holding that the BIA abused its discretion because it failed to render a reasoned decision that accords with its own precedent and policies and failed to consider the position of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. View "Benitez v. Wilkinson" on Justia Law