Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

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The First Circuit denied Appellant's petition for review of the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissing Appellant's appeal from the decision of the immigration judge (IJ) denying Appellant's application for asylum, withholding of removal (WOR), and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that the conclusions of the IJ and BIA were supported by substantial evidence.Appellant, a Honduran national, filed an application for asylum, WOR, and CAT relief. The IJ denied Appellant's applications and ordered that he be removed to Honduras. The BIA dismissed Appellant's petition for asylum and WOR and denied his application for protection under CAT. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the BIA and IJ's conclusion that Appellant did not show that the government of Honduras was unable or unwilling to protect him was supported by substantial evidence; and (2) Appellant did not establish that it was more likely than not that he would be tortured if removed to Honduras. View "Gomez-Medina v. Barr" on Justia Law

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After Plaintiffs Moya and Ruiz applied to become naturalized citizens of the United States and the government denied their requests for disability exemptions from the civics and English testing requirements, they filed suit in federal court claiming that the naturalization process is unlawful.The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' claims, holding that the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) does not allow Moya and Ruiz to seek judicial review of their denial of their applications until after completion of the available administrative review procedures, and thus Moya and Ruiz did not exhaust their administrative remedies. The court also held that the district court correctly found that the other plaintiff in this appeal, YMPJ, had Article III standing to sue, but did not fall within the zone of interests of the INA, the Administrative Procedure Act, or the Due Process Clause. Therefore, YMPJ, a non-profit organization that assists applicants for naturalization, could not bring a cause of action on its own behalf. View "Moya v. United States Department of Homeland Security" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied petitions for review of the BIA's dismissal of petitioner's appeal of the IJ's denial of asylum. The court held that the evidence does not compel a reasonable factfinder to conclude that petitioner has demonstrated he was persecuted in the People's Republic of China because of his political opinion.The court held that it has no authority to review the Board's decision declining to address the IJ's determinations of a lack of credibility and of corroborative evidence. The court also held that a reasonable factfinder would not be compelled to conclude that petitioner was persecuted for political rather than personal reasons, and thus he has not met his burden for his asylum petition. View "Changsheng Du v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit vacated a preliminary injunction barring implementation of decisions to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations of Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador. The TPS program is a congressionally created humanitarian program administered by DHS that provides temporary relief to nationals of designated foreign countries that have been stricken by a natural disaster, armed conflict, or other "extraordinary and temporary conditions in the foreign state."The panel held that judicial review of plaintiffs' claim under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) is barred by 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(5)(A). Under the TPS statute, the Secretary possesses full and unreviewable discretion as to whether to consider intervening events in making a TPS determination. In this case, plaintiffs' attempt to rely on the APA to invoke justiciability over what would otherwise be an unreviewable challenge to specific TPS determinations, constitutes an impermissible circumvention of section 1254a(b)(5)(A).The panel also held that plaintiffs failed to show a likelihood of success, or even serious questions, on the merits of their Equal Protection claim. The district court found that the DHS Secretaries were influenced by President Trump and/or the White House in their TPS decisionmaking, and that President Trump had expressed animus against non-white, non-European immigrants. However, without any evidence linking them, the panel concluded that these two factual findings alone cannot support a finding of discriminatory purpose for the TPS terminations. View "Ramos v. Wolf" on Justia Law

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In 1993, Tazu left his native Bangladesh, entered the U.S. without inspection, and applied for asylum based on political persecution. Eight years later, an IJ denied that application. Tazu appealed to the BIA, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. In 2003, the BIA denied his appeal, giving him 30 days to depart. Nearly six years later, he was detained for removal. An attempt at removal failed. His passport had expired; the airline would not let him board the plane. A passport would not likely be issued quickly. In 2009, Tazu was granted supervised release. He complied with the terms of his release, held a job, paid taxes, and raised his children. Seeking a provisional waiver, in 2017, his son, a U.S. citizen, filed Form I-130, which was approved. Tazu did not immediately take the next step, a Form I212. In 2019, the government got Tazu’s renewed passport and re-detained him for removal. He sought habeas relief in New Jersey, filed his Form I-212, and moved to reopen his removal proceedings based on ineffective assistance of counsel. He lost on every front.The Third Circuit ordered the dismissal of the habeas petition; 8 U.S.C. 1252(g) strips courts of jurisdiction to review any “decision or action by the Attorney General to ... execute removal orders.” Section 1252(b)(9) makes a petition for review—not a habeas petition—the exclusive way to challenge a removal action and funnels Tazu’s claims to the Second Circuit. Tazu has a petition for review pending in the Second Circuit. He can stay with his family while that litigation is pending,. View "Tazu v. Attorney General United States" on Justia Law

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On January, 2020, the Supreme Court stayed a preliminary injunction issued by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York enjoining DHS from implementing a final rule setting out a new agency interpretation of immigration law that expands the meaning of "public charge" in determining whether a non-citizen is admissible to the United States. While the appeal of that preliminary injunction was pending before the Second Circuit, the district court issued a new, nationwide, preliminary injunction preventing DHS from enforcing that same rule based on the COVID-19 pandemic.The Second Circuit granted DHS's motion to stay the second preliminary injunction, holding that DHS has shown a likelihood of success on the merits based primarily on the district court’s apparent lack of jurisdiction to issue the preliminary injunction during the appeal of its prior, virtually identical injunction (coupled with DHS's showing of irreparable harm resulting from its inability to enforce its regulation). The court also doubted whether the nationwide application of the injunction was proper in light of the considerations the court set forth in New York v. Dep't of Homeland Sec., which was not available to the district court at the time it issued the second injunction. Finally, the court concluded that DHS has shown irreparable injury from the district court's prohibition on effectuating the new regulation. View "New York v. Department of Homeland Security" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming an IJ's denial of asylum and withholding of removal. The panel held that substantial evidence did not support the Board's conclusion that the El Salvadoran government was both able and willing to control the Mara-18 gang whose members attacked petitioner and killed his son. In this case, the record before the IJ and BIA compels the conclusion that, despite initial responsiveness to petitioner's complaints, the police were unable, and then unwilling, to protect petitioner and his family from the Mara-18 gang. The panel stated that the undisputed factual record that was before the IJ and BIA reflects actual deadly violence that the government was, during certain periods, unable to control, and threats of additional deadly violence that the government was entirely unwilling to control after petitioner testified. The panel stated that this is enough.The panel remanded for the Board to consider in the first instance questions related to whether petitioner was a member of a particular social group, or whether he suffered harm rising to the level of persecution. View "J.R. v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff represents three certified classes which are defined to include, in relevant part, all current and future individuals who are subject to an immigration detainer issued by an ICE agent located in the Central District of California, excluding individuals with final orders of removal or who are subject to ongoing removal proceedings. The district court entered a judgment and two permanent injunctions in favor of plaintiff and the Probable Cause Subclass on Fourth Amendment claims. The State Authority Injunction enjoins the Government from issuing detainers from the Central District to law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in states that lack state law permitting state and local LEAs to make civil immigration arrests based on civil immigration detainers. The Database Injunction enjoins the Government from issuing detainers to class members based solely on searches of electronic databases to make probable cause determinations of removability.The Ninth Circuit first held that plaintiff had Article III standing to seek prospective injunctive relief when he commenced suit; second, the panel held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in certifying the Probable Cause Subclass pursuant to Rule 23(b)(2) with plaintiff as the class representative; third, the panel held that 8 U.S.C. 252(f)(1) does not bar injunctive relief for the claims in this case because the only provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) whose text even refers to immigration detainers is not among the provisions that section 1252(f)(1) encompasses; fourth, the panel reversed and vacated the State Authority Injunction because the presence or absence of probable cause determines whether the Government violates the Fourth Amendment when issuing a detainer, not state law restrictions; fifth, the panel reversed and vacated the Database Injunction because it is premised on legal error and lacks critical factual findings; and finally, the panel reversed summary judgment for the Government on plaintiffs' claim pursuant to Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103 (1975). View "Gonzalez v. United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement" on Justia Law

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Jabateh was a rebel commander during the Liberian civil war. He later fled to the United States seeking asylum. His conduct in Liberia, characterized by brazen violence and wanton atrocities, made honest immigration application impossible. He concealed his crimes and portrayed himself as a persecuted victim. Jabateh’s fraud succeeded for almost 20 years.In 2016, Jabateh was charged with the fraud in his immigration documents, 18 U.S.C. 1546(a) and perjury, 18 U.S.C. 1621. The five-year limitations period for misconduct related to Jabateh's 2001 application for permanent residency had passed, leaving only Jabateh’s oral responses in a 2011 Interview affirming his answer of “no” to questions related to genocide and misrepresentations during his immigration applications. The district court noted “the force of the prosecution’s trial evidence,” establishing that Jabateh personally committed or ordered his troops to commit murder, enslavement, rape, and torture “because of race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin or political opinion.”The Third Circuit affirmed, rejecting challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence and to Jabateh’s 360-month sentence. The court acknowledged that section 1546(a) criminalizes fraud in immigration documents and that Jabateh was not charged with fraud in his immigration documents, only with orally lying about those documents. Jabateh, however, failed to raise this argument at trial. “Given the novelty of the interpretative question, and the lack of persuasive" guidance, the court declined to hold that this reading of section 1546(a) meets the stringent standards for “plain error” reversal. View "United States v. Jabateh" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied the petitions for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's denial of petitioner's request for deferral and the BIA's denial of petitioner's motion to reopen his immigration case. The court rejected petitioner's due process claim that the agency failed to consider all relevant evidence. The court also held that the BIA did not err in determining that petitioner had failed to show he was more likely than not to be tortured based on his Christian faith if removed to Bangladesh. In this case, substantial evidence supports the Board's determination that petitioner failed to show that the Bangladeshi government acquiesces in torture, and substantial evidence supports the Board's determination that petitioner's evidence of forcible land evictions does not demonstrate the government's acquiescence in torture.The court also held that the Board did not abuse its discretion by denying the motion to reopen where plaintiff offers nothing, beyond conclusory statements, to support his claim that the newly-offered evidence was not available at the time of his hearing in 2018. Furthermore, the new evidence was unlikely to alter the IJ's decision. View "Ahmed v. Barr" on Justia Law