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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for judicial review of the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner’s untimely filed motion to reopen, holding that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to reopen and declining to equitably toll the deadline. Petitioner, a Guatemalan native and citizen, was charged with removability. An immigration judge (IJ) denied Petitioner’s application for withholding of removal. The BIA affirmed. Nearly seven years after the BIA denied his appeal, Petitioner filed motion to reopen, arguing that he had received ineffective assistance of counsel. The BIA denied the motion as time-barred and declined Petitioner’s invitation to equitably toll the deadline. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the BIA neither committed a material error of law nor acted arbitrarily, capriciously, or irrationally. View "Tay-Chan v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Mendoza-Garcia, then 16, came to the U.S. from Guatemala in 2004. In 2011 removal proceedings, he sought asylum and withholding of removal, stating that he was afraid to return to Guatemala because his hometown had been torn apart by violence after a mayoral election won through fraud. His merits hearing was scheduled for November 2017. One week before that hearing, his attorney moved to withdraw, stating that he told Mendoza-Garcia six week earlier about an outstanding obligation related to their 2011 representation agreement. Mendoza-Garcia was unable to pay and requested more time. The IJ informed him that financial difficulty would not justify a continuance. When asked a third time if he objected to his attorney’s withdrawal, Mendoza-Garcia said no. The IJ granted the motion; the attorney left. The hearing proceeded, with interpreters translating from English to Spanish and from Spanish to Aguacateco, Mendoza-Garcia’s indigenous language. Mendoza-Garcia stated, “I don’t fear any person in particular or a group, per se,” but “they made us" "get involved with a group to protect the village,” giving him a gun. He stated that he had been expelled from the village and had “no idea what might happen.” The IJ again refused a continuance. The BIA and Sixth Circuit upheld the denial of relief. Denying a continuance was not irrational, discriminatory, or a departure from established policies. This type of procedural due process claim requires a showing of prejudice; Mendoza-Garcia could not show that his “claims could have supported a different outcome.” View "Mendoza-Garcia v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision upholding the IJ's denial of withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The panel held that it was appropriate for the BIA to consider sentencing enhancements when it determined that a petitioner was convicted of a particularly serious crime on a case-by-case basis. The panel clarified that it was also appropriate for the BIA to consider sentencing enhancements when it determined that a petitioner was convicted of a per se particularly serious crime. In this case, petitioner was convicted of willful infliction of corporal injury upon the mother of his child with a prior conviction, and was sentenced with a one-year enhancement that made his aggregate term of imprisonment five years. The panel held that the BIA applied the correct legal standard when it determined that petitioner was convicted of a per se particularly serious crime and was therefore ineligible for withholding of removal. The panel also held that substantial evidence supported the denial of CAT relief. View "Mairena v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Petitioner filed a habeas petition under 8 U.S.C. 1252(e)(2), challenging the procedures leading to his expedited removal order. The district court dismissed the petition based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Ninth Circuit reversed and held that, although section 1252(e)(2) does not authorize jurisdiction over the claims in the petition, the Suspension Clause, U.S. Const. art. I, 9, cl. 2, requires that petitioner have a meaningful opportunity to demonstrate that he was being held pursuant to the erroneous application or interpretation of relevant law. The panel held that section 1252(e)(2) did not provide that meaningful opportunity and thus the provision violated the Suspension Clause as applied to petitioner. In this case, there were meager procedural protections afforded by the administrative scheme governing credible fear determinations, and these meager procedural protections were compounded by the fact that section 1252(e)(2) prevented any judicial review of whether DHS complied with the procedures in an individual case, or applied the correct legal standards. The panel further declined to interpret section 1252(e)(2) to avoid the serious Suspension Clause problems engendered by the statute. View "Thuraissigiam v. USDHS" on Justia Law

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Madar was born in communist-ruled Czechoslovakia in 1964, entered the U.S. in 1991, and overstayed. He has litigated his legal status in the decades since his arrival. Madar sought a declaration that he is a U.S. citizen because his late father, Jozef, was a citizen, and his father’s citizenship transmitted to him. Madar’s paternal grandmother, Cikovsky, was born in 1906 in Ohio. As a teenager, she left the U.S. to settle in Czechoslovakia. She married there and gave birth to Jozef in 1940. Jozef never lived in the U.S., married a non-U.S. citizen in Czechoslovakia and had children there. Jozef knew of his mother’s American birth, but did not know that this might entitle him to citizenship. In his son’s immigration proceedings, Jozef swore in an affidavit that the political circumstances of post-war Czechoslovakia would have made compliance with requirements that foreign-born children of citizens be physically present in the U.S. for some amount of time to retain citizenship, difficult, if not impossible. The Third Circuit affirmed that even if Jozef had retained his citizenship under an equitable theory that excused his noncompliance with statutory physical presence requirements, he did not transmit that citizenship to his son. View "Madar v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit vacated the BIA's final order denying petitioner's motion to reopen removal proceedings. Petitioner claimed that she never received notice of her removal hearing. The court held that the BIA abused its discretion in refusing to reopen petitioner's removal proceedings where petitioner satisfied her obligation to provide a new address to the "Attorney General" by notifying ICE of her change of address. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Fuentes-Pena v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision holding petitioner inadmissible because he falsely represented himself as a citizen when applying for a Georgia driver's license. Petitioner argued that he simply checked the wrong box, and that citizenship did not affect the application. The court held that it did not have jurisdiction to review petitioner's claim because it was a factual matter regarding whether he checked the wrong box and thus lacked the requisite subjective intent to trigger the statute. The court also held that it did not have to defer to the Board's interpretation of Matter of Richmond, 26 I. & N. Dec. 779, 786–87 (BIA 2016), finding a materiality element in 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(6)(C)(ii)(I). Rather, the statute did not require that citizenship be material to the purpose or benefit sought. View "Patel v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the lower courts denying Appellant’s petition for post-conviction relief on the basis that his attorney provided deficient performance that prejudiced him, holding that counsel rendered ineffective assistance to Appellant by failing to properly advise him about the immigration consequences of a misdemeanor guilty plea. Appellant pleaded guilty to stealing less than twenty dollars of merchandise from Walmart without realizing that his guilty plea made him a deportable felon under federal immigration law. Appellant sought post-conviction relief, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The lower courts denied relief. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Appellant’s attorney rendered constitutionally deficient performance as a matter of law by independently marking “N/A” next to the citizenship advisement on the standard advisement of rights from before inquiring into Appellant’s citizenship status; and (2) counsel’s deficient performance prejudiced Appellant. View "Bobadilla v. State" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's denial of asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court held that substantial evidence in the administrative record supported the BIA's finding that petitioner and his son failed to prove past persecution. The court held that petitioner failed to establish an objective nexus between fear of future persecution and a protected ground. Although petitioner claimed a well-founded fear on account of his Mam ethnicity, the BIA found insufficient proof that the harm his family suffered during the guerilla conflict was due to their ethnicity, no evidence that private persons who claimed the family's land after they fled to Mexico acted on account of their ethnicity, and no evidence of a pattern or practice against Mam people in Guatemala. Furthermore, claims of fear of future persecution by the Zetas was not related to a protected ground. View "Martin v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's order of removal. The court held that petitioner's conviction for conspiracy to commit money laundering under 18 U.S.C. 1956(h) is an aggravated felony under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(D). The court also held that the IJ's reliance on the forfeiture order was appropriate, and the IJ did not commit clear error in finding that the government established that petitioner laundered more than $10,000 by clear and convincing evidence. View "Barikyan v. Barr" on Justia Law