Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

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In 2004, Privett pleaded guilty to sexual battery. Nine years later, Privett married a foreign citizen and filed Form I-130 to establish her qualification for a visa and eventually a Green Card. USCIS sent Notice of Intent to Deny and requested additional evidence that Privett was not convicted of a “specified offense against a minor” and to “demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, that [he] pose[d] no risk to the safety and wellbeing of” his wife. Under the Adam Walsh Act (AWA), 8 U.S.C. 1154(a)(1)(A)(viii)(I) the request of a citizen convicted of a specified offense against a minor may be denied. Privett provided a transcript of his plea hearing. USCIS rejected his petition. The district court dismissed Privett's claims for lack of jurisdiction to review a decision of the Secretary of Homeland Security “the authority for which is specified under this subchapter to be in the discretion of the . . . Secretary of Homeland Security,” 8 U.S.C. 1252(a)(2)(B). The Sixth Circuit reversed in part. Certain predicate legal issues that determine the bounds of a discretionary decision remain within the jurisdiction of the courts. Privett’s challenge to whether his crime is a specified offense against a minor is such a predicate legal issue. Privett’s challenge to USCIS’s beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard is directed at the Secretary’s discretion and beyond judicial review. View "Privett v. Secretary, Department of Homeland Security" on Justia Law

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Ataya pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit health care fraud and wire fraud. In his plea agreement, he relinquished any right to appeal his conviction or sentence “on any grounds.” Atatya nonetheless appealed. The Sixth Circuit directed the parties to brief the question of whether Ataya entered into the plea agreement as a whole knowingly and voluntarily. Ataya understood and accepted the appellate waiver’s consequences, but if he misunderstood the conviction’s key consequences, that undermines the knowingness of the appellate waiver. The district court did not inform Ataya, as Rule 11 requires, that the plea agreement required him to pay restitution and a special assessment and to forfeit the proceeds of his fraud; neither the plea agreement nor the district court mentioned that Ataya, who became a naturalized citizen after the alleged frauds, might face denaturalization as a result of his conviction. Invalidation of the agreement will require him to demonstrate “a reasonable probability that, but for the error, he would not have entered the plea.” View "United States v. Ataya" on Justia Law

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Albaadani came to the U.S. via Saudi Arabia at age 17. In 2015, an order of removal was issued against him because his former wife ceased to sponsor his request for citizenship. Albaadani wants to return to his birthplace, but because Yemen was in a state of “war and political conflict,” no travel documents have been issued. Albaadani was detained for six months, after which he was released subject to monitoring with a GPS ankle monitor. The Immigration and Naturalization Service received a tamper alert on Albaadani’s ankle monitor. When an agent called Albaadani, Albaadani refused to go to an enforcement office and became verbally abusive toward the agent. He was sentenced to nine months of imprisonment for tampering with a GPS ankle monitor, 18 U.S.C. 1361. Albaadani argued that his sentence was based on the impermissible factors of gender and national origin. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, stating that some of the district court’s comments, taken out of context, could appear to be influenced by Albaadani’s national origin, but the court’s explicit and complete reliance on serious threats and photographs attributed to Albaadani indicate that the sentence, viewed as a whole, did not create the appearance of having been based on gender or national origin. View "United States v. Albaadani" on Justia Law

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Sene, a citizen of both Mauritania and Senegal, was charged in removal proceedings, alleging that she was admitted to the U.S. in 2000, without a valid entry or travel document. She sought asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), testifying that she was subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) and that, when she was 10 years old, Mauritanian military personnel took her family to military barracks, where she was questioned, beaten, forced to work, and raped. She escaped to a refugee camp, eventually moving to Dakar, where she lived for 11 years without problems. She came to the U.S. for a job opportunity, married in 2004, and had a daughter in 2005. She feared that her husband’s family might subject her daughter to FGM. An IJ denied Sene’s applications. The BIA took notice of a State Department Country Report about a 2008 military coup in Mauritania, followed by a deterioration in the human rights situation and remanded. The IJ again denied Sene’s applications and ordered her removal to Senegal; the BIA affirmed. The Sixth Circuit denied a petition for review. Sene failed to show that it is more likely than not that she would be subject to persecution in Senegal, “where the country reports indicate that FGM is a criminal offense that is not commonly committed against adult women and the record likewise does not support her fear of any other form of harm.” View "Sene v. Sessions" on Justia Law