Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

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The First Circuit granted Petitioner’s petition for judicial review of the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner’s motion to reopen his removal proceedings, holding that the BIA overlooked a significant factor relevant to its analysis. During his removal hearing, Petitioner, an Indonesian national and an evangelical Christian, testified that he had experienced persecution in Indonesia on account of his faith. An immigration judge denied relief. Approximately ten years later, Petitioner moved to reopen his removal proceedings, arguing that conditions in Indonesia affecting Indonesian Christians had materially changed. The BIA denied relief. The First Circuit vacated the BIA’s order, holding that the BIA abused its discretion in neglecting to consider significant facts that may have had a bearing on the validity of Petitioner’s motion to reopen. The Court remanded so that the BIA may determine, after considering all the relevant evidence, whether Petitioner has made a prima facie showing of eligibility for the relief sought. View "Sihotang v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit (1) denied Petitioners’ petition for review as to their challenge to the determination of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that Petitioners' motion to reopen a removal order was untimely and number barred, and (2) dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction as to Petitioners’ challenge to the BIA’s decision not to exercise its authority to reopen sua sponte. Petitioners, natives of Guatemala, were ordered removed by an immigration judge in 2000. In 2001, the BIA denied their appeal. In 2017, Petitioners filed a motion to reopen or reconsider the removal order. The BIA denied the motion as untimely filed and numerically barred. The BIA also declined to reopen the removal proceedings sua sponte because it did not consider Petitioners’ situation “exceptional.” The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the BIA correctly held that Petitioners had failed to justify the delay in filing the motion to reopen and dismissing it as untimely; and (2) this Court lacked jurisdiction to review the BIA’s decision not to reopen sua sponte. View "Lemus v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for judicial review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the Immigration Judge’s (IJ) denial of Petitioner’s applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that the BIA did not err by affirming the IJ’s conclusion that Petitioner did not qualify for relief. Petitioner’s claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and withholding of removal under the CAT were principally supported by her testimony that she was mistreated in Honduras because of her Afro-Honduran race and physical disability caused by polio. The IJ found that Petitioner had failed to carry her burden in proving either past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution and rejected Petitioner’s claims. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit affirmed, holing (1) there was substantial evidence supporting the BIA’s and IJ’s conclusions that Petitioner had not shown past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution; and (2) the BIA did not err by failing to consider Petitioner’s claim for humanitarian asylum. View "Martinez-Perez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit remanded this case to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) for reconsideration of Petitioner’s eligibility for asylum, holding that the BIA committed several errors in its review of the decision of the immigration judge (IJ). An IJ granted Petitioner asylum, concluding that Petitioner met his burden of proving he was entitled to asylum. Among other things, the IJ found that the police in Mexico would be unable to protect Petitioner from members of organized crime who had murdered his son and continued to target him and the rest of his nuclear family. The BIA concluded that the IJ’s finding of inability was clearly erroneous. The First Circuit reversed, holding (1) among the BIA’s errors in reviewing the IJ’s decision, the BIA failed to examiner separately the evidence of the government’s willingness to protect Petitioner from persecution and the evidence of its ability to do so; and (2) the BIA’s flawed analysis of the IJ’s decision required a remand of this case. View "Justo v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review of a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to deny Petitioner’s application for deferral of removal based on the protection to which he claimed he was entitled under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT). Petitioner, a native of Jamaica and a lawful permanent resident of the United States, was charged with removability for being convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. Petitioner contended that, pursuant to 8 C.F.R. 1208.17, he was eligible for deferral of removal under CAT based on the fact that a gang leader in Jamaica with ties to the Jamaican police had threatened to kill him for being an informant. An immigration judge (IJ) denied Petitioner’s claim for deferral of removal. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Petitioner failed to show that he was entitled to deferral of removal pursuant to 8 C.F.R. 1208.17(a). View "Morris v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) erred in concluding that Petitioner had not suffered past persecution nor had a well-founded fear of future persecution if he returned to Ecuador on account of his indigenous Quiche ethnicity. The First Circuit vacated the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the immigration judge’s (IJ) decision denying Petitioner’s asylum application. The Court held (1) Petitioner’s case should be analyzed in light of the fact that he was a minor during the time he suffered abuse, harm, and mistreatment in Ecuador; (2) the IJ and BIA erred as a matter of law in failing to apply the child-specific standard for asylum claims; and (3) the case must be remanded for a finding of whether what Petitioner suffered in Ecuador, viewed from a child’s perspective, amounted to severe mistreatment and, if so, whether the the abuse amounted to government inaction, a requisite for a finding of past persecution. View "Santos-Guaman v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Appellant’s conviction for marriage fraud in violation of 8 U.S.C. 1325(c), which prohibits knowingly entering into a marriage for the purpose of evading the immigration laws, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction. Specifically, the Court held (1) the evidence presented in this case amply supported the district court’s conclusion that Defendant duped his wife into marrying him in order to avoid deportation; and (2) the trier of fact could reasonably have concluded that Defendant harbored no intent to establish a life with his wife and instead married her solely to avoid deportation. View "United States v. Akanni" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review as to his challenge to the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA) determination that his motion to reopen was untimely and dismissed for lack of jurisdiction as to Petitioner’s challenge to the BIA’s decision to not exercise its sua sponte authority to reopen. The BIA found that Petitioner had submitted his motion to reopen long after the ninety-day limit and that Petitioner did not show that he fit within an exception to that limit. The BIA also determined that sua sponte reopening was unwarranted. The First Circuit held (1) that the BIA did not abuse its discretion as to the first issue; and (2) the Court lacked jurisdiction to consider Petitioner’s challenge as to the second issue. View "Reyes v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied the petition sought by Petitioners, natives and citizens of Guatemala, seeking review of the denial of their applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). An immigration judge (IJ) found Petitioners’ asylum applications to be untimely filed and found that Petitioners failed to carry their burden of proof with respect to their withholding of removal and CAT claims. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) adopted and affirmed the IJ’s decision. The First Circuit upheld the lower courts, holding (1) this Court lacked jurisdiction to review Petitioners’ claim that they fell within the “extraordinary circumstances” exception to the filing requirement of the asylum application; and (2) substantial evidence in the record supported the IJ and BIA’s finding that Petitioner failed to demonstrate that they suffered past persecution or had a well-founded fear of future persecution. View "Olmos-Colaj v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review from the denial of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The immigration judge (IJ) denied Petitioner’s application, ruling that his claimed social group was not a protected ground under the Immigration and Nationality Act and that Petitioner had not established a nexus between his alleged persecution, or fear of future persecution, and any protected ground. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) upheld the IJ’s decision, concluding that Petitioner did not establish that any persecution he had suffered or feared was on account of a protected ground. The First Circuit agreed, holding that there was substantial evidence before the IJ and BIA that Petitioner failed to meet his burden to establish a nexus between his alleged persecution and a statutorily protected ground. View "Lopez-Lopez v. Sessions" on Justia Law