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The First Circuit granted Petitioner's petition asking the Court to review an order from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying her motion to reopen removal proceedings, holding that the Court lacked jurisdiction to review one of Petitioner's claims but, with respect to her latter three claims, it was appropriate to grant the petition and remand to the BIA for further proceedings. Petitioner, a native and citizen of Ghana, petitioned the BIA to reopen removal proceedings so that she could apply for cancellation of removal under the "special rule" for battered spouses and children, asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. Before the First Circuit, Petitioner argued that the BIA erred in denying the motion on each of those grounds. The First Circuit held (1) this Court is without jurisdiction to review the BIA's denial of "special rule" cancellation; and (2) this case must be remanded to the BIA for further examination and explication of its decision ruling against Petitioner on her remaining claims. View "Twum v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Pablo, born in 1985, speaks the Mam language and minimal Spanish. Pablo fled to the U.S. in 2001 after violent abuse by his stepfather. Pablo paid for legal representation but did not understand the proceedings. In 2009, Pablo was stopped for a traffic violation and deported. Pablo then lived with his grandparents, indigenous farmers. People from another town had beaten his grandparents and destroyed their crops. Pablo joined a committee of indigenous farmers and reported the abuse to the mayor. The police supported the assailants. Pablo was taken to an isolated place and beaten until he passed out. The group threatened to kill Pablo if he continued to fight for land rights. In 2010, Pablo fled to the U.S. He did not contact immigration officials or seek legal assistance. In 2012, Pablo was again deported and found work on a farm. Non-indigenous managers mistreated indigenous workers. Pablo helped form a union to protest the abuse. The owner warned that he would summon police to “show the Indians their place.” During a protest, Pablo was taken to jail and severely beaten. Police stated that Pablo would be sent to his grandparents, where local police would decide whether he lived or died. A human rights organization secured his release. Pablo spent five days in the hospital. Pablo returned to the U.S. He first met with his attorney in July 2016. Pablo did not have any records from his previous proceedings. Pablo filed complaints against his prior “attorneys” and moved to reopen. The Sixth Circuit reversed the denial of relief and remanded to the BIA to reconsider whether Pablo demonstrated changed country conditions under the correct evidentiary and legal standards. The court affirmed the denial of Pablo’s motion based on ineffective assistance because Pablo failed to demonstrate due diligence. View "Lorenzo v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied the petition for review of the BIA's decision denying petitioner and her children and mother asylum and withholding of removal. The court held that substantial evidence supported the BIA's determination that petitioners did not experience past persecution or face the requisite risk of future persecution on account of a protected basis. In this case, petitioner did not belong to the asserted particular social group of "women who are in abusive relationships in Mexico that they can't leave." Furthermore, substantial evidence supported the BIA's determination that the mother was not persecuted on account of her familiar relationship with petitioner. Finally, the BIA did not err in denying withholding of removal where an alien who fails to prove eligibility for asylum cannot meet the burden of withholding of removal. View "Wences Godinez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's denial of petitioner's application for asylum and related relief based on the IJ's finding that petitioner was not credible. The court held that the asserted inconsistencies between the details of his encounter with police following his attack and the severity of his father's injuries after an assault did not amount to inconsistent statements at all. Furthermore, petitioner's inconsistent statements regarding the dates when he received medical treatment after he was assaulted -- on its own -- did not justify an adverse credibility finding. In any event, remand to the agency would not be futile. Accordingly, the court vacated the order of removal and remanded. View "Gurung 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

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's denial of petitioner's motion to reopen in abstentia deportation proceedings from 1994. The court held that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to reopen based on a claim of lack of notice, because he had previously admitted in his first motion to reopen that he had received notice and his attorney's admission was binding absent a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, which was not present here. Finally, the court lacked jurisdiction to review the BIA's refusal to sua sponte reopen the proceedings. View "Gonzalez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Gawron, a Polish citizen who has lived in the U.S. for 17 years, and her husband, Motyka, were involved in an elaborate credit card fraud scheme. Gawron pleaded guilty to wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1343. The presentence investigation report noted that the court “ordinarily” should not impose supervision on a defendant who would likely be removed from the country after her release from prison, U.S.S.G. 5D1.1(c) but recommended a discretionary condition prohibiting Gawron from leaving the “jurisdiction” where she is being supervised without permission. Gawron objected to other conditions of supervised release, but did not argue that supervised release should be skipped because of her likely removal, nor did she contest the condition restricting her movement. Gawron’s counsel stated that immigration proceedings had started and that her deportation was likely. The court imposed a below-Guidelines prison sentence of 12 months and one day, with two years of supervision. The court granted Gawron’s request to delay reporting to prison until Motyka’s release, for the sake of their children. In the meantime, Gawron would be subject to the conditions of her pretrial supervision. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting a challenge to the imposition of any term of supervised release because she is likely to be deported after her imprisonment. Her argument that the condition confining her to the district where she is being supervised is flawed for containing no scienter requirement would have warranted relief if she had properly preserved it. View "United States v. Gawron" on Justia Law

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Gamero, a Mexican citizen who entered in 1973 and became a lawful U.S. permanent resident 1989, had state drug convictions. An immigration judge found him removable as an alien convicted of the aggravated felony of “illicit trafficking in a controlled substance,” 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(B). He sought deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture. The judge denied that relief because the evidence he presented about the risk of torture from Mexican drug cartels was largely speculative. The Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed. Gamero later moved to reopen the removal proceedings based on new evidence that his brother-in-law and nephew had been kidnapped and held for ransom in Gamero’s hometown. The Board denied the motion, ruling that the new evidence was unlikely to change the outcome. The Seventh Circuit denied a petition for review, rejecting arguments that his drug convictions do not qualify as “illicit trafficking” under 1101(a)(43)(B) because the crimes in question do not require proof of remuneration; that the agency’s decision to deny his application under the Convention Against Torture is not supported by substantial evidence; and that the agency applied the wrong legal standard and abused its discretion when it denied his motion to reopen. View "Gamero v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Doe, a citizen of Iran, sought lawful permanent residence in the U.S. under the EB-5 visa program, which requires applicants to invest in a new U.S. commercial enterprise, 8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(5)(A). Doe invested $500,000 in Elgin Assisted Living EB-5 Fund, for a memory care facility. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denied Doe’s petition because the facility had not been built. Doe filed suit. The court granted the government summary judgment. Meanwhile, Doe’s attorney was accused of defrauding 226 immigrants who invested over $88 million; he allegedly misappropriated the memory care center's funds. Doe eventually successfully applied to adjust his status to that of a conditional permanent resident. At the conclusion of his two-year, conditional term, Doe petitioned to remove the conditions on his residency. USCIS denied his petition. The district court upheld the denial, rejecting arguments that the decision was arbitrary and capricious, exceeded the relevant statutory and regulatory authority, and deprived Doe of his due process rights under the Fifth Amendment. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. USCIS reasonably concluded, after questioning the single expenditure supported by Doe’s investment, that significant questions remained unanswered about whether the transaction was legitimate and truly placed the full value of the investment “at risk” for purposes of job creation. View "Doe v. McAleenan" on Justia Law

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Arrazabal, born in El Salvador, was admitted as a lawful U.S. permanent resident in 1995, at age 19. In 1996, Arrazabal was recruited into the MS-13 gang. He was convicted on firearms and drug charges. His status as a lawful permanent resident was revoked. His request for asylum was denied and he was ordered removed in 2001. Arrazabal alleges that he renounced his gang membership upon his return to El Salvador and, as a result, suffered violence by MS-13, a rival gang, and the police. He represents that he was repeatedly arrested without cause, jailed for extended periods, and tortured by police. Arrazabal fled El Salvador and returned to the U.S. illegally. He was arrested in 2012 for unlawful reentry and spent 27 months in prison. He applied again for asylum. An asylum officer preliminarily determined that he had a reasonable fear of being tortured if returned to El Salvador. Because Arrazabal’s 2001 removal order precluded asylum, he unsuccessfully sought withholding of removal and Convention Against Torture protection. Following a remand, additional evidence was presented. The IJ and Board of Appeals again denied relief. The Seventh Circuit again remanded, finding that the IJ and the Board mischaracterized certain evidence and again ignored corroborative aspects of the evidence. View "Arrazabal v. Barr" on Justia Law