Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

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Plaintiffs filed suit seeking to enforce a 1997 settlement agreement, incorporated into a consent decree, requiring immigration agencies to hold such minors in their custody in facilities that are safe and sanitary. The district court found that the government violated the Agreement by detaining minors in unsanitary and unsafe conditions at Border Patrol stations; ordered enforcement of various paragraphs of the Agreement; and directed the government to appoint an internal Juvenile Coordinator. In this case, the parties agreed that this court has jurisdiction over the appeal of the post-judgment order only if the district court modified the Agreement. The panel held that the district court's order did not modify the Agreement and therefore this court does not have jurisdiction over the appeal. Rather, the district court's orders interpreted the Agreement's requirements that minors be held in safe and sanitary conditions consistent with the government's concern for the particular vulnerability of minors. Although the government argued that the district court's order modified the Agreement in other respects, the panel held that these arguments likewise lacked merit. Accordingly, the panel dismissed the appeal based on lack of jurisdiction. View "Flores v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's determination, in a precedential decision, that even though petitioner was a lawful permanent resident, she was inadmissible under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(13)(C)(v) and 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I), because she had been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. In this case, the crime was Arizona solicitation to possess marijuana for sale. The BIA rejected petitioner's contention that, by referencing "attempt or conspiracy," section 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) excludes crimes of solicitation even if they otherwise constitute crimes involving moral turpitude. Applying Chevron deference, the panel affirmed the BIA's determination that even though petitioner was a legal permanent resident, she was removable because she was inadmissible to the United States when she presented herself at the border. Furthermore, a conviction in Arizona for solicitation to possess at least four pounds of marijuana for sale constitutes a crime involving moral turpitude for purposes of section 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I), and thus petitioner was inadmissible. The panel rejected petitioner's contention that, by referencing only "attempt or conspiracy," section 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) excluded crimes of solicitation, and the panel saw no reason to deviate from Barragan-Lopez v. Mukasey, 508 F.3d 899 (9th Cir. 2007). View "Gonzalez Romo v. Barr" on Justia Law

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An issue was actually litigated only if it was raised, contested, and submitted for determination in the prior adjudication. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for USCIS and related defendants in an action brought by plaintiff alleging that issue preclusion barred the government from denying his adjustment of status application. In this case, shortly after petitioner was granted asylum, his application for adjustment of status was denied under 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)(B)(i) for support of a Tier III terrorist organization. The panel held that the issue of terrorism-related inadmissibility was not raised, contested, or submitted for determination at plaintiff's asylum proceeding, and thus it was not actually litigated. Therefore, issue preclusion did not bar the government from disputing the issue in plaintiff's adjustment of status. View "Janjua v. Neufeld" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit held that petitioner's conviction under Oregon Revised Statute 163.187(1) for "strangulation" was categorically a crime of violence for purposes of removability under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The panel also held that the BIA abused its discretion in designating petitioner's offense of conviction as a "particularly serious crime." The panel denied the petition for review of the BIA's decision because petitioner failed to carry his burden of showing eligibility for withholding of removal or for protection under the Convention Against Torture; and the BIA's denial of petitioner's application for relief was supported by substantial evidence. View "Flores-Vega v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision dismissing petitioner's appeal from the IJ's determination that he was ineligible for cancellation of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act because he was convicted of a violation of a protection order. The panel held that the BIA's articulation in Matter of Medina-Jimenez and Matter of Obshatko, that the categorical approach does not apply to determining whether an alien's violation of a protection order under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(E)(ii) renders him convicted of an offense under section 1229b(b)(1)(C), is entitled to Chevron deference. The panel deferred under Chevron to the BIA's conclusion that section 1101(a)(48)(A) does not require that the underlying offense be labeled a crime as long as the proceedings are "criminal in nature" and contain "constitutional safeguards normally attendant upon a criminal adjudication." The panel also agreed with the BIA's decision that petitioner is ineligible for cancellation of removal. Accordingly, the panel upheld the BIA's decision and did not need to remand. View "Diaz-Quirazco v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Petitioner sought review of the BIA's order denying his untimely motion to reopen his removal proceedings. Petitioner alleged that he received ineffective assistance of counsel during his removal proceedings. The BIA agreed that petitioner's prior counsel performed deficiently, but denied the motion to reopen after concluding that he failed to show prejudice. The Ninth Circuit granted the petition for review with respect to petitioner's claims for deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) and relief under former 8 U.S.C. 212(c). The panel held that the BIA analyzed petitioner's new prejudice evidence under standards more stringent than were proper. Although the more-likely-than-not standard governs the merits of a CAT claim, in the context of a motion to reopen for ineffective assistance, the petitioner need not show that he would win or lose on any claims. Rather, the question with respect to prejudice is whether counsel's deficient performance may have affected the outcome of the proceedings, which means that the petitioner need only show plausible grounds for relief. The panel denied the petition for review with respect to all other claims and held that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in rejecting petitioner's claims. Accordingly, the panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Flores v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The en banc court granted a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's denial of cancellation of removal. The BIA held that petitioner failed to demonstrate that her prior conviction was not for a disqualifying federal offense and therefore had not met her burden of showing that she was eligible for cancellation of removal. The en banc court held that, in the context of eligibility for cancellation of removal under 8 U.S.C. 1229b(b), a petitioner's state-law conviction does not bar relief where the record is ambiguous as to whether the conviction constitutes a disqualifying predicate offense. The en banc court held that the statute under which petitioner was convicted was overbroad at the time of her conviction. The en banc court overruled its decision in Young v. Holder, 697 F.3d 976 (9th Cir. 2012) (en banc), that, under Moncrieffe v. Holder, 569 U.S. 184 (2013), an ambiguous record of conviction does not demonstrate that a petitioner was convicted of a disqualifying federal offense. Accordingly, the panel reversed and remanded. View "Marinelarena v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the City in an action challenging the DOJ's use of certain factors in determining scores for applicants to a competitive grant program. The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant program allocates a limited pool of funds to state and local applicants under the Public Safety Partnership and Community Policing Act, enacted as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. In this case, the DOJ gives additional points to an applicant that chooses to focus on the illegal immigration area (instead of other focus areas) and gives additional points to an applicant who agrees to the Certification of Illegal Immigration Cooperation. After determining that the case was not moot and that the City had Article III standing, the panel held that the DOJ's use of these two factors in evaluating for the competitive grant program did not violate the Spending Clause of the U.S. Constitution, did not exceed the DOJ's statutory authority, and did not violate the Administrative Procedure Act. View "City of Los Angeles v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit held that it generally lacked jurisdiction to review a decision by the BIA not to exercise its sua sponte authority to reopen removal proceedings. In Bonilla v. Lynch, the panel held that it has jurisdiction to review denial of a motion to reopen sua sponte only for the limited purpose of reviewing the reasoning behind the decisions for legal or constitutional error. The panel denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision denying sua sponte reopening based on the vacatur of the criminal conviction underlying his removal order. The panel held that petitioner failed to establish legal or constitutional error in the BIA's reasoning such that the panel had jurisdiction to review that decision. View "Menendez-Gonzalez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's dismissal of petitioner's application for cancellation of removal. The panel deferred to the BIA's decision in Matter of Cortes Medina that a conviction for indecent exposure under California Penal Code 314(1) is categorically a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT). The panel held that it must defer to Cortes Medina pursuant to the framework outlined in National Cable & Telecommunications Association v. Brand X Internet Services, 545 U.S. 967, 982 (2005). Finally, the panel held that Cortes Medina applied retroactively to petitioner's case such that his section 314(1) conviction was a CIMT that made him ineligible for cancellation of removal. View "Cruz Betansos v. Barr" on Justia Law