Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the order of the district court denying Appellant's application for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, ruling that holding individuals pursuant to a federal civil immigration detainer request is an arrest under Montana law and that a detainer request is not an arrest warrant and does not compel the re-arrest of a person otherwise entitled to release. Plaintiff was arrested and booked into county jail. When Plaintiff attempted to post his bond, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Border Patrol) sent the jail a civil immigration detainer request under the Immigration and Nationality Act and informed the bond company that the sheriff would continue to detain Plaintiff. Consequently, Plaintiff's bondsman declined to post his bond, and Plaintiff was not released. Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging that the sheriff violated Montana law in honoring the Border Patrol's request. The district court ruled against Plaintiff. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that Plaintiff's continued detention for a new purpose when he was otherwise entitled to release was an arrest under Montana law, and the sheriff lacked state arrest authority to detain Plaintiff on the basis of his potential removal under federal immigration law. View "Ramon v. Short" on Justia Law

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Jose Angel Banuelos-Galviz (Banuelos) entered the United States in 2006. Roughly three years later, he was served with a document labeled “Notice to Appear.” By statute, a notice to appear must include the time of the removal hearing. But Banuelos’s document did not tell him the date or time of the hearing, so the immigration court later sent him a notice of hearing with this information. Banuelos then sought asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. The immigration judge rejected each request, and Banuelos appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals. While the administrative appeal was pending, the Supreme Court decided Pereira v. Sessions, which held that the stop-time rule was not triggered by a notice to appear that omitted the time of the removal hearing. Because Banuelos’s notice to appear lacked both the date and time, he moved for a remand so that the immigration judge could consider his request for cancellation of removal. To qualify for cancellation of removal, Banuelos needed to show continuous presence in the United States for at least ten years. His ability to satisfy this requirement turned on whether the combination of the deficient notice to appear and notice of hearing had triggered the "stop-time rule." If the stop-time rule had been triggered, Banuelos would have had only about three years of continuous presence. But if the stop-time rule had not been triggered, Banuelos’s continuous presence would have exceeded the ten-year minimum. The Board held that the stop-time rule had been triggered because the combination of the two documents—the incomplete notice to appear and the notice of hearing with the previously omitted information—was the equivalent of a complete notice to appear. Given this application of the rule, the Board found that Banuelos’s period of continuous presence had been too short to qualify for cancellation of removal. So the Board denied his motion to remand. Given the unambiguous language of the pertinent statutes, the Tenth Circuit determined the stop-time rule was not triggered by the combination of an incomplete notice to appear and a notice of hearing. The Court thus granted the petition for review and remanded to the Board for further proceedings. View "Banuelos-Galviz v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Manriquez-Alvarado, a citizen of Mexico, has repeatedly entered the U.S. illegally. He was ordered removed in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2017, each time following a criminal conviction. He was found in the U.S. again in 2018 and was sentenced to 39 months' imprisonment for illegal reentry. 8 U.S.C. 1326(a), (b)(2). All of the convictions for reentry rest on the 2008 removal order. Manriquez-Alvarado argued that this order was invalid because immigration officials never had “jurisdiction” to remove him. His “Notice to Appear” did not include a hearing date. In 2018, the Supreme Court held (Pereira) that a document missing that information does not satisfy the statutory requirements. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the denial of his motion to dismiss. Pereira identifies a claims-processing doctrine, not a rule limiting immigration officials' jurisdiction. Older removal orders are pen to collateral attack if the alien exhausted any administrative remedies that may have been available; the deportation proceedings improperly deprived the alien of the opportunity for judicial review; and the order was fundamentally unfair, 8 U.S.C.1326(d). In 2008, Manriquez-Alvarado stipulated to his removal, waiving his rights to a hearing, administrative review, and judicial review. The statute does not ask whether administrative and judicial remedies would have been futile. It asks whether they were available. Manriquez-Alvarado’s removal was the result of his criminal conduct; he lacked permission to enter the U.S. at all. It is not unfair to order such an alien's deportation. View "United States v. Manriquez-Alvarado" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court ruling in favor of the Rhode Island municipalities on their suit seeking to invalidate the conditions that the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) imposed on the cities in connection with the allocation of federal law enforcement grants, holding that the DOJ lacked authority to imposed the challenged conditions. When state and local governments refused to assist wholeheartedly in federal enforcement of immigration-related laws, the DOJ purposed to condition unrelated federal law enforcement grants on the provision of the governments' assistance with the enforcement of the immigration-related laws. Two Rhode Island cities - Providence and Central Falls - brought this suit seeking to enjoin the DOJ from imposing the challenged conditions on their grants. The district court granted summary judgment for the Cities, concluding that the DLJ exceeded its statutory authority in imposing the challenge conditions on the grants. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the DOJ was not vested with the authority to impose the challenged conditions on the Cities' grants. View "City of Providence v. United States Department of Justice" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a legal permanent resident, sought review of an agency order of removal based on a finding that he committed an "aggravated felony" within the meaning of 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(G). Under section 1101(a)(43)(G), to establish an aggravated felony, the government must show by clear and convincing evidence that a noncitizen committed a "theft offense" that resulted in a term of imprisonment of "at least one year." Petitioner was a member of the U.S. Army when he pleaded guilty to four violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), one of which was larceny of military property. Under the military's customary practice of unitary sentencing at the time, the military judge issued a general sentence that imposed a punishment for all four of petitioner's convictions for 30 months' confinement. The Second Circuit held that, under the military's traditional unitary sentencing scheme, a military judgment in which a single sentence of confinement is imposed in connection with multiple counts of conviction may not be presumed to be equivalent to equal, full‐term, concurrent sentences as to each count of conviction. Because the government has not carried its burden, the court granted the petition for review and remanded for further proceedings. View "Persad v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Center lodged a FOIA request with the Department of Justice (DOJ) for records of communications between the Attorney General, the Office of the Attorney General and any Office of Immigration Litigation or Office of the Solicitor General lawyers related to 11 certified cases decided in 2002-2009. DOJ produced about 1,000 pages but withheld 4,000 pages, citing FOIA Exemption 5, which allows the withholding of agency memoranda not subject to disclosure in the ordinary course of litigation, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(5). Exemption 5 encompasses the attorney work product, attorney-client, and deliberative process privileges. DOJ submitted a Vaughn index describing each document withheld, identifying documents reflecting discussions between attorneys working within different offices of issues related to immigration cases under consideration or on certification for decision by the Attorney General. The Center unsuccessfully argued that the documents contained ex parte communications outside Exemption 5's scope because the DOJ attorneys’ eventual litigation role taints the advice they provide the Attorney General at the certification stage; removal proceedings end in federal court litigation where those same attorneys are opposite the immigrant. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The Office of Immigration Litigation and Solicitor General attorneys do not hold interests adverse to the noncitizen at the stage at which the Attorney General certifies a case for decision. “ To conclude otherwise would chill the deliberations that department and agency heads like the Attorney General undertake in confidence to execute the weighty responsibilities of their offices.” View "National Immigrant Justice Center v. United States Department of Justice" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's dismissal of petitioner's appeal of the IJ's denial of cancellation of removal relief and denial of petitioner's motion to remand. The court held that the BIA did not engage in impermissible factfinding when it agreed with petitioner that one of the IJ's findings was clearly erroneous. In this case, the BIA evaluated the same record as the IJ; noted the IJ's factual error and its lack of prejudicial impact; and concluded after weighing and evaluating the other evidence that exceptional and extremely unusual hardship was not established. The court also held that the BIA's weighing of hardship factors was a discretionary determination beyond the court's jurisdiction. Finally, the court held that the BIA did not abuse its considerable discretion in concluding that petitioner failed to provide any new and previously unavailable evidence regarding his qualifying relative. View "Campos-Julio v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Aliens who lived in the U.S. committed drug crimes and were ordered removed. Neither moved to reopen his removal proceedings within 90 days, 8 U.S.C. 1229a(c)(7)(C)(i). Each later unsuccessfully asked the Board of Immigration Appeals to reopen their removal proceedings, arguing equitable tolling. Both had become eligible for discretionary relief based on judicial and Board decisions years after their removal. The Fifth Circuit denied their requests for review, holding that under the Limited Review Provision, 8 U.S.C. 1252(a)(2)(D), it could consider only only “constitutional claims or questions of law.” The Supreme Court vacated. The Provision’s phrase “questions of law” includes the application of a legal standard to undisputed or established facts. The Fifth Circuit had jurisdiction to consider claims of due diligence for equitable tolling purposes. A strong presumption favors judicial review of administrative action and a contrary interpretation of “questions of law” would result in a barrier to meaningful judicial review. The Provision’s statutory context, history, and precedent contradict the government’s claim that “questions of law” excludes the application of the law to settled facts. Congress has consolidated virtually all review of removal orders in one proceeding in the courts of appeals; the statutory history suggests it sought an “adequate substitute” for habeas review. If “questions of law” in the Provision does not include the misapplication of a legal standard to undisputed facts, then review would not include an element that was traditionally reviewable in habeas proceedings. View "Guerrero-Lasprilla v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's order of removal under Section 241 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and Section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act. The court held that, although petitioner's state law conviction is not a facial categorical match to the federal schedule of controlled substances, there is no realistic probability that Texas courts will apply its statute to conduct that falls outside of the scope of the federal analog; petitioner is ineligible for withholding of removal because his state law conviction is a "particularly serious crime" within the meaning of the statute; and petitioner's due process rights were not violated where, as a pro se litigant, petitioner successfully secured an initial stay of removal from this court and none of the perceived hindrances he pointed out stopped him from being able to research the law, draft, mail and file his pleadings, and appeal his claims for the better part of four years without the assistance of legal counsel. View "Vetcher v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Mohamed Awad appealed a district court order denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea to a charge of knowingly voting when not qualified to do so. On appeal, Awad argued the district court should have allowed him to withdraw his guilty plea because he was not adequately advised under N.D.R.Crim.P. 11(b) of the possible immigration consequences of pleading guilty, and because he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Finding no reversible error, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the district court order. View "North Dakota v. Awad" on Justia Law