Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

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The First Circuit vacated the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner's motion to reopen as untimely, holding that the grounds that the BIA gave for rejecting Petitioner's arguments were not sustainable and thus could not support the BIA's decision to reject Petitioner's motion as untimely. Petitioner, a Guatemalan national who entered the United States without inspection, faced the prospect of removal on the basis of a 2010 BIA decision denying her asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture. Years later, Petitioner filed a motion to reopen and sought to excuse the untimeliness of the motion on the basis of changed country conditions in Guatemala. The BIA denied the motion as untimely. The First Circuit vacated the BIA's decision and remanded, holding that sufficient evidence did not support the BIA's grounds for rejecting Petitioner's changed country arguments, and therefore, the BIA erred in rejecting Petitioner's motion as untimely. View "Perez-Tino v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's dismissal of petitioner's appeal in light of Matter of Castro-Tum, 27 I. & N. Dec. 271 (A.G. 2018). In Castro-Tum, the Attorney General concluded that IJs and the BIA do not have the general authority to administratively close cases. The court held that 8 C.F.R. 1003.10(b) and 1003.1(d)(1)(ii) unambiguously confer upon IJs and the BIA the general authority to administratively close cases. The court held that Castro-Tum was not entitled to Auer deference and, in the absence of such deference, the court applied Skidmore deference. In this case, the court explained that a court reviewing Castro-Tum for Skidmore deference would not be persuaded to adopt the agency's own interpretation of its regulation for substantially the same reasons it was not entitled to Auer deference: because it represents a stark departure, without notice, from long-used practice and thereby cannot be deemed consistent with earlier and later pronouncements. Therefore, the BIA's decision should be vacated and and remanded for further proceedings. View "Zuniga Romero v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision finding petitioner ineligible for cancellation of removal because he sustained a prior conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude when he was convicted of theft by receiving in violation of Nebraska law. The court also held that Ali v. Barr, 924 F.3d 983, 986 (8th Cir. 2019), foreclosed petitioner's claim that neither the IJ nor the BIA had subject matter jurisdiction over his removal proceedings, because the initial notice to appear served on petitioner did not include information about when and where to appear. View "Inzunza Reyna v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals ruling that the family court erred in declining to conduct a special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) hearing at the disposition phase of a dependency, neglect and abuse case regarding an unaccompanied Guatemalan child, holding that Kentucky courts are not required to engage in SIJ status factfinding. The family court determined that it was without the jurisdictional authority to undertake SIJ findings because such findings were not relevant to the core dependency, neglect, and abuse issues before the court. The mother appealed, arguing that the circuit court erred by not making the findings required for SIJ status. The court of appeals agreed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the General Assembly has not specifically directed Kentucky's courts to make SIJ findings, and therefore, the family could need not make additional findings relevant to the child's SIJ classification, upon request, in every case; and (2) under the circumstances of this case, the proper place for SIJ status factfinding was in federal immigration court. View "Commonwealth v. N.B.D." on Justia Law

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Upon sua sponte rehearing, the Fifth Circuit withdrew its prior opinion and substituted the following opinion. The court granted the petition for review and held that petitioner failed to exhaust his challenge to the immigration court’s jurisdiction based on alleged defects in his Notice to Appear. The court also held that the Oklahoma misdemeanor of transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle is not one of the firearms offenses listed under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(C). Therefore, the court concluded that this conviction did not disqualify petitioner from seeking cancellation of removal. Accordingly, the court vacated the BIA's order and remanded for further proceedings. View "Flores-Abarca v. Barr" on Justia Law

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8 U.S.C. 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii) strips the federal courts of jurisdiction to review the denial of a national interest waiver. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's action challenging the denial of his petition for a national interest waiver related to his application for a work visa. Section 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii) provides that no court shall have jurisdiction to review a decision or action of the Attorney General or the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority for which is specified under this subchapter to be in the discretion of the Attorney General or the Secretary of Homeland Security. The panel held that section 1153(b)(2)(B)(i)'s plain language specifies that the authority to grant (or to deny) a national interest waiver is in the discretion of the Attorney General. The panel also held that plaintiff's various claims simply repackaged his core grievance regarding the national interest waiver, and his due process claim failed because he received notice by regular mail to the address given. View "Poursina v. USCIS" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's complaint, seeking a declaration of citizenship under 8 U.S.C. 1503(a). The court held that the district court did not clearly err in denying jurisdiction over the section 1503(a) claim in light of the deficient record developed by plaintiff and the court's deferential standard of review. The court also held that section 1503(a) was an adequate alternative remedy for plaintiff's injury, and that the district court was therefore correct that it lacked jurisdiction over his claim under the Administrative Procedure Act. View "Flores v. Pompeo" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for judicial review of the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the immigration judge's (IJ) denial of Petitioner's application for refugee status, holding that substantial evidence supported the findings of the immigration court. Petitioner, a native of El Salvador, entered the United States unlawfully. Petitioner sought asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture, asserting that he was abused and threatened as a child by family and purported gang members in El Salvador. The IJ denied Petitioner's application for refugee status and ordered his removal to El Salvador. The BIA dismissed Petitioner's appeal and affirmed the IJ. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that substantial evidence supported the immigration court's findings. View "Miranda-Bojorquez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's denial of petitioner's application for asylum, withholding of removal, and Convention Against Torture (CAT) based on his imputed political opinion and whistleblowing activities exposing police corruption. The panel rejected petitioner's broad challenge to Matter of N–M–, arguing that it misconstrues the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Rather, the panel held that the three factor test in N–M– was consistent with the whistleblowing cases in this circuit and the BIA's interpretation was not unreasonable. In this case, the panel held that petitioner's asylum claim failed because the record did not support his claim that police officers persecuted him on account of his imputed political opinion. Although the BIA erroneously applied the "one central reason" nexus standard rather than the "a reason" standard, the panel need not remand because the BIA adopted the IJ's finding of no nexus between the harm and the alleged protected ground and thus neither the result nor the BIA's basic reasoning would change. View "Singh v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Petitioner appealed the denial of his application for asylum and withholding of removal. The Fifth Circuit held, in light of Matter of L-E-A-, -- which stands for the proposition that families may qualify as social groups, but the decision must be reached on a case-by-case basis -- that the BIA failed to rely on the factual findings of the IJ, which were likely impacted by the incorrect legal posture through which the IJ viewed the case. Considering the error, and in order that the IJ and the BIA may have the benefit of the increased clarity provided by Matter of L-E-A-, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Pena Oseguera v. Barr" on Justia Law