Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

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Ildefonso-Candelario, a citizen of Mexico, entered the U.S. unlawfully, allegedly in 1996. In 2015, he pled guilty in Pennsylvania state court to a misdemeanor count of obstructing the administration of law or other governmental function. Immigration and Customs Enforcement took Ildefonso-Candelario into custody, charging him with being removable as an alien present without admission or parole, 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(6)(A)(i). At his first hearing, Ildefonso-Candelario stated his intention to seek cancellation of removal. Counsel for ICE suggested that Ildefonso-Candelario’s prior conviction might qualify as a crime involving moral turpitude, which would render him statutorily ineligible for cancellation of removal, 8 U.S.C. 1229b(b)(1)(C). The Immigration Judge issued an initial holding that the offense was “categorically” a crime involving moral turpitude. ICE added a charge of removability for committing a crime involving moral turpitude. The Immigration Judge then ordered Ildefonso-Candelario removed to Mexico. A single member of the BIA upheld the ruling “[f]or the reasons given by the Immigration Judge.” The Third Circuit remanded to the BIA, holding hold that 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. 5101 is not categorically a crime involving moral turpitude. The offense encompasses non-fraudulent as well as fraudulent conduct, such as obstruction by “physical interference or obstacle.” View "Ildefonso-Candelario v. Attorney General United States" on Justia Law

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Azcona-Polanco, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, was admitted to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident in 1972. In 1994, he was ordered removed based upon a conviction for heroin distribution but never left the country. In 1997, Azcona-Polanco was convicted of conspiracy to violate federal narcotics laws and sentenced to 168 months’ incarceration. He was deported in 2009, after his incarceration, but re-entered illegally and assumed an alias, having purchased a citizen’s birth certificate and Social Security card. Azcona-Polanco was arrested and pled guilty to illegal reentry, 8 U.S.C. 1326(a); (b)(2). His sentencing range was 41-51 months. The Guideline range for a term of supervised release was one to three years, with a maximum of three years, 18 U.S.C. 3583(b)(2). Azcona-Polanco was presumptively exempt from supervised release as a deportable immigrant, U.S.S.G. 5D1.1(c). The Presentence Investigation Report and sentencing memorandum noted that presumption. The court sentenced Azcona-Polanco to 41 months’ imprisonment and three years’ supervised release, stating, “in case he does illegally reenter the United States he must report in person to Probation.” Azcona-Polanco did not object to the imposition of supervised release. The Third Circuit affirmed. A district court is permitted to impose a term of supervised release on a deportable immigrant “if the court determines it would provide an added measure of deterrence and protection based on the facts and circumstances of a particular case.” View "United States v. Azcona-Polanco" on Justia Law

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Members of the notorious Salvadoran gang, MS13, shot Serrano-Alberto's brother, leaving him paralyzed; extorted Serrano-Alberto , an acclaimed professional soccer player; and, when he ceased to pay, shot Serrano-Alberto, his nephew, and a neighbor, killing the neighbor and leaving the others in serious condition. Police refused to take a report because Serrano-Alberto did not know the names of the shooters. Fearing reprisal, Serrano-Alberto twice attempted to flee but was returned by Mexican authorities. In 2009-2012, Serrano-Alberto was imprisoned in El Salvador on extortion charges; he was ultimately absolved. Gang members continued to search for him. They shot another his brothers for refusing to divulge Serrano-Alberto’s whereabouts. In 2012, Serrano-Alberto escaped harm in a drive-by shooting by diving under a car. Serrano-Alberto moved multiple times. His mother warned that gang members were continuing to pursue him. In 2014, Serrano-Alberto observed apparent gang members in his new neighborhood and fled to the U.S.He was apprehended and applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. At his hearing, the IJ was “confrontational, dismissive, and hostile, interrupting and belittling Serrano-Alberto’s testimony, time and again cutting off his answers to questions, and nitpicking immaterial inconsistencies.” She ordered removal. The BIA denied relief. The Third Circuit vacated and urged reassignment on remand. The Fifth Amendment protects the liberty of all persons within U.S. borders, including aliens in immigration proceedings who are entitled to a meaningful opportunity to be heard. View "Serrano-Alberto v. Attorney General United States" on Justia Law