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 for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) brought by Petitioners, several Peruvian nationals who were ordered removed from the United States, holding that Petitioners were not entitled to relief on their claims.Petitioners brought claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection pursuant to the regulations implementing the Convention Against Torture, contending that, if returned to Peru, they feared being seriously physically harmed or killed due to their former involvement with the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA) political party. An immigration judge (IJ) ordered Petitioners removed, and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed. The First Circuit denied Petitioners' petition for review, holding that substantial evidence supported the agency's ruling that Petitioners had failed to make the requisite showing regarding government involvement. View "Vila-Castro v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying his motion to reopen proceedings under 8 U.S.C. 1229a(c)(7), holding that the BIA neither committed a material error of law nor acted arbitrarily, capriciously, or irrationally.Petitioner, a native and citizen of Guatemala, was charged as removable for being present in the United States without having been admitted. Petitioner conceded the charge and sought asylum. An immigration judge (IJ) denied the asylum application because Petitioner failed to establish that he was targeted based on a protected ground. The BIA affirmed. Petitioner subsequently filed an untimely motion to reopen, asserting that the applicable time limit should be equitably tolled due to ineffective assistance of counsel. The BIA denied the motion. The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review, holding that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying Petitioner's untimely motion to reopen and declining to equitably toll the deadline. View "Yoc Esteban v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit granted Petitioner's petition seeking to have her removal proceedings reopened and vacated the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals rejecting her motion to reopen her removal proceedings pursuant to the Board's sua sponte authority, holding that remand was required.At the age of nine, Petitioner entered the United States from El Salvador without inspection to join her mother, who entered without inspection four years earlier. An immigration judge found Petitioner deportable and granted her a five-month period of voluntary departure. The Board affirmed. Thereafter, Congress enacted the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA), Pub. L. No. 105-100. Petitioner later sought to have her removal proceedings reopened so that her request for suspension of deportation could be adjudicated according to the substantive NACARA standards. The Board ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to reopen the proceeding after construing Petitioner's filing as a motion seeking relief under NACARA. The First Circuit granted relief, holding (1) there is no reason why NACARA should not be read as implicitly divesting the Board of its discretion to sua sponte reopen a proceeding; and (2) Petitioner's petition was not time barred. View "Mancia v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for judicial review of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision affirming the judgment of the immigration judge (IJ) rejecting Petitioner's application for deferral of removal under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that the BIA's denial of CAT protection was supported by substantial evidence.After Petitioner, a Haitian national, pleaded guilty in a Massachusetts state court with carrying a firearm without a license the Department of Homeland Security initiated removal proceedings. An IJ denied Petitioner's application for deferral of removal under the CAT, and the BIA dismissed Petitioner's appeal. The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for judicial review, holding (1) the agency's finding that generalized danger and violence endemic in Haitian society will pose no particularized threat to Petitioner was supported by substantial evidence; (2) judicial venue was proper in the First Circuit; and (3) substantial evidence supported the agency's denial of CAT protection. View "Bazile v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioners' petition for review of their asylum and withholding of removal claims and concluded that Petitioners waived any argument regarding relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that substantial evidence supported the immigration judge's (IJ) factual determinations and that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) committed no errors of law.In their application for asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT relief, Petitioners argued that they experiences in El Salvador established persecution and that they belonged to two separate particular social groups that were threatened by gang members. The IJ denied relief, concluding that Petitioners failed to establish persecution and did not meet their burden as to the two separate particular social groups they claimed. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit denied review, holding that the BIA and IJ did not err when they concluded that Petitioners did not meet their burden with respect to persecution on account of a protected group and withholding of removal. View "Sanchez v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's claim that he had a reasonable fear of persecution if repatriated to his native Ghana on account of his membership in a particular social group, holding that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and immigration judge (IJ) correctly rejected Petitioner's claim.Petitioner conceded his removability but cross-applied for withholding of removal and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, testifying that, if returned to Ghana, he would be tortured and killed because his family never surrendered formal title to land taken from them by a local chieftain. The IJ ordered Petitioner removed to Ghana, and the BIA dismissed Petitioner's appeal. The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for judicial review, holding that the IJ and BIA did not err in finding that the interpersonal conflict between Petitioner's family and the chieftain was unconnected to a statutorily-protected ground for relief. View "Odei v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming Petitioner's order of removal and denying his application for adjustment of status, holding that a conviction under Mass. Gen. Laws (MGL) ch. 269, 11C is not categorically a firearm offense, as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(c).Petitioner, a citizen of El Salvador, pleaded guilty in Massachusetts state court to defacing or receiving a firearm with a defaced serial number in violation of MGL ch. 269, 11C. The Department of Homeland Security later initiated removal proceedings against Petitioner charging him with removal based solely on his Massachusetts state court conviction. Petitioner moved to terminate the proceedings on the grounds that his Massachusetts conviction did not qualify as a removable firearm offense. The immigration judge sustained the removability charge and denied Petitioner's ensuing application to adjust his status. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed. The First Circuit vacated the BIA's opinion and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that MGL ch. 269, 11C was facially overbroad when compared to its federal counterpart. View "Portillo v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Security" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the rulings of the district court granting Appellants attorney's fees under the the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), which entitles a prevailing party in certain civil actions against the United States to remove attorney's fees unless the government's position was substantially justified or special circumstances make an award unjust, holding that there was no error.Appellants brought this challenge against the Department of Homeland Security and its agency, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), after USCIS administratively closed each Appellant's application to adjust status, seeking attorney's fees under the EAJA. Determining that the government's position was substantially justified, the district court denied attorney's fees for the proceedings before the court but granted Appellants EAJA fees for the ensuing appellate proceedings that the government voluntarily dismissed. The First Circuit affirmed both rulings, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying EAJA fees related to the challenges before it; and (2) the district court did not err in its calculation of the EAJA award for the appellate proceedings abandoned by the government. View "Michel v. Mayorkas" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the decisions of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and the immigration judge (IJ) denying Appellant's applications for asylum and withholding of removal and denied Appellant's petition for review as to Appellant's claim for protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that remand was required for further proceedings.In denying Appellant's claims for asylum and related relief the IJ concluded that Appellant had failed to establish the requisite basis of fear of future persecution. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit vacated the decisions in part, holding (1) Appellant was statutorily eligible for asylum on political opinion grounds; (2) because neither the IJ nor the BIA confronted the merits of Appellant's withholding of removal claim, remand was required for the IJ to assess the evidence in the first instance; and (3) the BIA's denial of Appellant's application for CAT protection was supported by substantial evidence. View "Mendez Esteban v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the immigration judge's (IJ) denial of his applications for asylum and withholding of removal under sections 208(b)(1)(A) and 241(b)(3)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, holding that Petitioner was not entitled to relief on his claims of error.Petitioner, a Guatemalan citizen, entered the United States illegally in 2016. After DHS charged him with being subject to removal Petitioner filed applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. The IJ denied relief from removal, and the BIA affirmed. The First Circuit denied in part and dismissed in part Petitioner's petition for review, holding (1) Petitioner's unexhausted claim must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction; and (2) substantial evidence supported the BIA's determination, and the agency committed no errors of law in that ruling. View "Santos Garcia v. Garland" on Justia Law