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Undercover officers attempting a controlled purchase of methamphetamine arrested Estrada upon finding meth in his pocket and a rifle and ammunition in his car. He pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of a controlled substance. Because of this conviction for an aggravated felony, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(E)(ii), Estrada—a green-card holder—was placed in removal proceedings. Estrada appeared later with counsel, who conceded Estrada’s removability. Noting the unavailability of other relief, the IJ ordered Estrada removed to Mexico. Estrada was deported in 2009. Six years later, law enforcement discovered Estrada in the United States. He was charged with illegal reentry following deportation, 8 U.S.C. 1326(a); (b)(2). Estrada moved to dismiss, by collateral attack on the underlying deportation order, arguing that the IJ violated his due process rights by failing to advise him of the possibility of discretionary relief from removal under section 212(h) and alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the denials of Estrada’s motions to dismiss. A defendant charged with unlawful reentry may not challenge the validity of his deportation order unless he demonstrates that: he exhausted administrative remedies; the deportation proceedings improperly deprived him of the opportunity for judicial review; and the entry of the order was fundamentally unfair. Estrada had no constitutionally-protected liberty interest in securing discretionary relief and, therefore, cannot establish that the order was fundamentally unfair. View "United States v. Estrada" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit denied a petition for review of an order of removal issued by DHS. Petitioner was removed without the benefit of a hearing on the basis that he entered the United States under the Visa Waiver Program and waived his right to contest removal under the terms of that program. The court found that petitioner was admitted under the Visa Waiver Program based on the administrative record amassed by DHS; the evidence was sufficient to support DHS's claim that petitioner waived his right to a hearing prior to removal based on the manner of his entry, coupled with evidence of the admission process under the program; and, in the alternative, petitioner failed to demonstrate prejudice if his waiver was not knowing and voluntary. View "Nardea v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming an IJ's adverse credibility determination and denial of asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Petitioner argued that he was persecuted in India because of his support of one of the country's opposition political parties. The panel held that the IJ's decision was supported by substantial evidence; the IJ's demeanor findings were sufficiently specific, and the Board and IJ provided specific and cogent reasons for why inaccuracies in petitioner's documentary evidence, and inconsistencies between his statements and other evidence of record, undermined his credibility; petitioner could not satisfy his burden of proving he was eligible for asylum and withholding of removal; and the Board's determination that petition was not entitled to protection under the CAT was supported by substantial evidence. View "Manes v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The Tenth Circuit expedited consideration of this bail appeal to consider Mario Ailon-Ailon’s argument that the government has misinterpreted the word “flee” as it appeared in 18 U.S.C. 3142(f)(2), resulting in his illegal pre-trial detention. He argued that involuntary removal by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) did not constitute flight of the sort that would justify detention. On initial consideration, a magistrate judge agreed and determined that Ailon-Ailon should not have been detained before trial. On review of the magistrate judge, the district court reversed, ordering that he be detained. The Tenth Circuit concluded that the plain meaning of “flee” refers to a volitional act rather than involuntary removal, and that the structure of the Bail Reform Act supported this plain-text reading. View "United States v. Ailon-Ailon" on Justia Law

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Rodriguez entered the U.S. without inspection in 1999. In 2000, her boyfriend obtained a temporary restraining order against her, claiming that he feared for his safety after episodes of domestic violence. Rodriguez later testified that because she had nowhere else to go, and because she had small children and all her belongings in their shared apartment, she did not leave. Rodriguez pleaded no contest to knowingly violating a TRO and to misdemeanor bail jumping. Rodriguez sought cancellation of her removal as an alien continuously present in the U.S. for 10 years, 8 U.S.C. 1229b(b)(1)(A) and “a person of good moral character” during that time, indicating that removal would cause an “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” to her five dependent children (including a cancer survivor) and that she had not been convicted of certain enumerated offenses, including violation of a protection order. The IJ decided that Rodriguez’s conviction was determinative, reasoning that Wisconsin law requires a judge to consider the danger posed to a victim and any pattern of abusive conduct by the perpetrator, so a misdemeanor conviction for violating a TRO is “categorically a removable offense.” The BIA and Seventh Circuit rejected her appeals. It does not matter that Rodriguez may not have acted violently by remaining on the premises; her violation of the avoidance-of-residence provision is enough. View "Rodriguez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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Mokdad, a naturalized U.S. citizen, sought injunctive relief against the Attorney General, the FBI, and the Director of the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) based on alleged instances where he was denied boarding on commercial airline flights between the U.S. and his native country, Lebanon. Claiming that his application for redress under the Department of Homeland Security Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP) was not adequately resolved, he requested that the court order his removal from the No Fly List and any other such list. The Sixth Circuit reversed the district court’s conclusion that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction On remand, TSC re-examined Mokdad’s DHS TRIP request, notified him that he was not on the No Fly List, and issued a declaration that Mokdad is not on the No Fly List and will not be placed back on the list based on the currently available information. The district court dismissed. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Mokdad’s case is moot in light TSC’s declaration. Even if Mokdad has been placed on another watch list, or is experiencing delays as he alleged, Mokdad did not identify any other lists or defendants, precluding effectual relief. If Mokdad believes that he is on another government list, the remedy is to file a new action. View "Mokdad v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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DeKelaita provided legal representation for immigrants applying for asylum under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(42)(A). Applicants for asylum must sit for an interview with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officer and must provide a translator if one is needed. DeKelaita’s clients were primarily Assyrian or Chaldean Christians from Muslim‐ruled countries, such as Iraq. Many had suffered persecution, but their eligibility was doubtful because they either had already found refuge in another county or their history failed to meet the requirements for asylum. For at least nine clients, DeKelaita concealed evidence that the applicant had obtained legal status in a safe country or fabricated information about persecution. At the interview DeKelaita was able to ensure that applicants stuck to the script by coaching interpreters. He was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the government and for three false statements he either made or induced on his final (Albqal’s) application. The court vacated the three convictions related to Albqal’s application. The jury unanimously found only one false statement in Albqal’s application, but the court ruled that this statement was immaterial to his receipt of asylum. The court concluded that the government had failed to prove an element of the substantive crimes, leaving only the conspiracy conviction, which the Seventh Circuit affirmed. DeKelaita argued that the government failed to prove an overarching conspiracy. The jury had sufficient evidence to convict DeKelaita for either the charged conspiracy or a subsection of it. View "United States v. Dekelaita" on Justia Law

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Taylor, a citizen of Ireland, entered the U.S. in 2000 on a visitor’s visa. In 2008, Taylor was the victim of perjury, a qualifying crime under the Victims Protection Act., 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(U), which created the non-immigrant U-Visa program. The Act became law in 2000, but no regulations were issued for seven years. The issuance of U-Visas in large numbers began in 2009. The FBI certified that Taylor had provided the necessary assistance with the prosecution of the crime, Taylor applied for a U-visa in 2014. U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determined that Taylor was eligible, but placed him on a waiting list because the statute prohibits the issuance of more than 10,000 U-visas per year. USCIS granted Taylor discretionary relief that defers removal and confers employment authorization benefits. Taylor filed suit, alleging that USCIS’s delay in promulgating regulations caused the backlog and asked the court to compel USCIS to immediately issue 80,000 U-visas to those on the waiting list. The court determined that Taylor lacked standing and dismissed his complaint. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The agency lacks the statutory authority to give the relief sought. The U-visa limit was reached in 2016 and 2017. Taylor lacks constitutional standing; a court cannot review his claims at all, nor determine whether there was an unreasonable delay or a non-discretionary duty under the APA to compel USCIS to issue U-visas. View "Taylor v. McCament" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision that petitioner's felony hit and run conviction under California Vehicle Code 20001(a) was a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT), rendering him ineligible for cancellation of removal. In this case, petitioner admitted in his plea agreement that he was involved in a car accident that led to injury. The panel applied the modified categorical approach and held that a felony conviction for traditional hit and run causing injury qualifies as a CIMT under current controlling precedent. View "Conejo-Bravo v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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Kamar, born in Lebanon in 1964, moved to Jordan as a child. The family is Catholic, but adheres to Islamic cultural practices. Kamar’s mother is a U.S. citizen. Her mother, some siblings, and cousins live in Jordan. Kamar was admitted to the U.S. as a visitor in 1999. She changed her status to an F-1 student in 2001. Kamar’s F-1 status was terminated when she left school. Kamar had three sons, then divorced in 2006. Her sons live in Canada. In 2007, Kamar married during her fourth pregnancy. In 2007, Kamar was charged as removable under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(1)(C)(1) because she failed to comply with the conditions of her F-1 status. Seeking withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture, Kamar alleged that if she returned to Jordan, under Islamic tradition, she would be subject to an honor killing by her youngest male relative for bringing shame to her family by getting pregnant out of wedlock. Kamar testified that if she sought help from the Jordanian government, it would place her in prison and place her son in an orphanage. An IJ denied Kamar’s application. The BIA affirmed, finding that Kamar did not establish that future persecution in Jordan was objectively reasonable, did not demonstrate a pattern persecuting persons similarly situated to her and the Jordanian government is working to protect victims. The Sixth Circuit reversed. The record “overwhelming supports” that Kamar will be persecuted if she returns; governors in Jordan routinely abuse the law and use imprisonment to protect potential honor crime victims. View "Kamar v. Sessions" on Justia Law