Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

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Porosh, a citizen of Bangladesh, claims he joined a political party, Jamaat in 2012, at age 15, and that an opposing party, Awami, called and threatened to kill Porosh; attacked Porosh and broke his hand; and held him against his will for two days. Porosh did not report the first two incidents to the police because he believes Awami controls the government. After he escaped, Porosh tried to report these three incidents. The police allegedly threatened to kill him if he filed a report. Porosh moved to another city but he claims Awami was still looking for him. In 2015, Porosh moved to Malaysia. In 2020, Awami contacted his father, threatening that if they found Porosh, they would kill him. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Malaysia announced that everyone with a temporary work permit would be returned to their home country. Porosh went to the United States with what he believed to be a valid work permit. When he presented the permit in Chicago, officers identified it as fake.After an interview, officers determined Porosh had a “credible fear of persecution” based on “political opinion” but an IJ rendered an adverse credibility determination and denied Porosh asylum. The BIA dismissed Porosh’s appeal. The Seventh Circuit denied a petition for review. While some of the IJ’s conclusions lack evidentiary support, on the whole, the decision is supported by findings that have a credible basis in the record. View "Porosh v. Garland" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a native and citizen of Mexico, seeks a review of the denial of his petition for cancellation of removal. The Board of Immigration Appeals determined that Petitioner was ineligible for cancellation of removal because he was convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude: identity theft under Virginia law, which explicitly includes “intent to defraud” as an element. Va. Code Ann. Section 18.2-186.3(A)(2). On appeal, Petitioner contends the statute could be—and in his case, was—applied to crimes that don’t involve moral turpitude.   The Fourth Circuit denied the petition for review. The court concluded that subsection (A)(2) of the Virginia identity-theft statute qualifies as a crime involving moral turpitude under 8 U.S.C. Section 1227(a)(2)(A)(ii), and that the Board didn’t abuse its discretion in deciding Petitioner’s case in a single-member opinion. The court explained that it found no abuse of discretion in the Board’s decision to assign this case to a single-member panel. The issue was not “complex, novel, or unusual”: It was squarely resolved by the Board’s precedent for crimes with “intent to defraud” as an element. The Board considered (and was unpersuaded) by the argument that Petitioner’s offense was “more akin to deception than fraud,” and the court agreed with its conclusion. Nor is there evidence that the relatively narrow issue of whether subsection (A)(2) of the Virginia statute involved moral turpitude is a “recurring” question before the Board. View "Jose Salazar v. Merrick Garland" on Justia Law

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Petitioner and her daughter were removed in absentia by the Immigration Judge ("IJ"). Petitioner sought relief, citing non-receipt of the hearing notice. The Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed the IJ's decision.The Ninth Circuit reversed the Board of Immigration Appeals' decision to remove Petitioner and her daughter in absentia, finding that the IJ should have determined the credibility of Petitioner's claims of non-receipt of her hearing notice in light of all the circumstantial and corroborating evidence in the record. Under 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1229a(b)(5)(C)(ii), an in absentia order may be rescinded upon a motion to reopen if the alien demonstrates non-receipt of the notice statutorily required for removal hearings. The Ninth Circuit found that there was circumstantial evidence supporting Petitioner's claim that she did not receive the hearing notice. View "IDANIA PEREZ-PORTILLO, ET AL V. MERRICK GARLAND" on Justia Law

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Petitioner a citizen of El Salvador, petitions the court for review of the denial of his application for withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and reversal of withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Petitioner has serious cognitive impairments, and while living in El Salvador he was recruited by gang members who attacked and threatened him when he refused to join.   The Eighth Circuit denied in part and granted in part. The court explained that it would have had jurisdiction to review Petitioner’s argument that the IJ applied an incorrect legal standard for determining the nexus between past persecution and any protected characteristics. But Petitioner waived this argument by raising it for the first time in his petition for review, not on appeal to the BIA.   However, the court held that the BIA did not provide sufficient justification for reversal, failing to identify reasons grounded in the record that are sufficient to satisfy a reasonable mind that the IJ clearly erred in its factual findings. The government urges affirmance, pointing to the thoroughness of the BIA’s decision and its extensive citations to the administrative record. But these features of the BIA’s decision do not establish that substantial evidence in the record supports the BIA’s decision here. Accordingly, the court granted the petition for review with respect to Petitioner’s application for withholding under the CAT. View "Gustavo Alvarez-Gomez v. Merrick Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied a petition for review sought by Petitioners, four individuals who left El Salvador for fear of harm at the hands of a gang, holding that the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) was supported by substantial evidence in the record.After Petitioners were charged as removable they conceded removability but cross-applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the United Nations Convention Against Torture. An immigration judge (IJ) rejected Petitioners' claims for relief, concluding that Petitioners failed to show that their claimed persecution bore a nexus to a protected ground. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit denied Petitioners' petition for review, holding that the agency's determination that family membership was not a central reason for Petitioners' persecution was supported by substantial evidence in the record. View "Jimenez-Portillo v. Garland" on Justia Law

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Petitioner is a native and citizen of Jamaica who was admitted to the United States in 2002 and who became a lawful permanent resident in 2003. In February 2012, he pleaded guilty to and was convicted of the Georgia crime of family violence battery, for which he was sentenced to 12 months confinement that he was permitted to serve on probation.In March 2015, the Department of Homeland Security initiated removal proceedings against Petitioner on the theory that his Georgia family violence battery conviction was an “aggravated felony” under the INA, making him removable. Petitioner challenged this classification and claimed he was entitled to relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT).First, the 11th Circuit held that Petitioner's conviction in Georgia was an "aggravated felony," finding that his probationary sentence still qualified as "incarceration." Second, pertaining to his request for CAT relief, the court held Petitioner failed to show the likelihood of government involvement or acquiescence in any torture by the Jamaican government. View "Karastan L. Edwards v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement contracts with CoreCivic to incarcerate detained immigrants in 24 facilities across 11 states. Plaintiffs, detained solely due to their immigration status and neither charged with, nor convicted of, any crime, alleged that the overseers of their private detention facilities forced them to perform labor against their will and without adequate compensation in violation of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, the California Trafficking Victims Protection Act (“California TVPA”), various provisions of the California Labor Code, and other state laws.   The Ninth Circuit filed (1) an order denying a petition for panel rehearing and, on behalf of the court, a petition for rehearing en banc; and (2) an opinion (a) amending and superceding the panel’s original opinion and (b) affirming the district court’s order certifying three classes. The panel held that the district court properly exercised its discretion in certifying a California Labor Law Class, a California Forced Labor Class, and a National Forced Labor Class. The panel held that, as to the California Forced Labor Class, Plaintiffs submitted sufficient proof of a classwide policy of forced labor to establish commonality. The panel agreed with the district court that narrowing the California Forced Labor Class based on the California TVPA’s statute of limitations was not required at the class certification stage. Further, the panel held that, as to the National Forced Labor Class, the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that Plaintiffs presented significant proof of a classwide policy of forced labor and that common questions predominated over individual ones. View "SYLVESTER OWINO, ET AL V. CORECIVIC, INC." on Justia Law

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Petitioner, an Eritrean citizen, was forcibly conscripted into the Eritrean National Service, an open-ended requirement of compulsory service, and made to work as an armed guard at a highway checkpoint through which Eritrean security forces brought detainees. Several years later, Petitioner escaped and made his way to America, where he applied for asylum and withholding of removal. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) concluded that Petitioner was ineligible because he assisted in the persecution of captives by impeding their escape at the checkpoint.   The Fifth Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition, finding that BIA’s determination is supported by substantial evidence and the record does not compel a contrary result. The court explained that to succeed, Petitioner must show that “the record evidence compels a conclusion contrary to the agency’s determination.” The court held that none of the evidence Petitioner presented compelled the court to conclude that no reasonable factfinder could agree with the BIA that Petitioner failed to meet his burden of rebutting the application of the persecutor bar. The court explained that its decision does not affect the IJ’s unchallenged grant of CAT relief. View "Gebrgzabher v. Garland" on Justia Law

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Petitioner a citizen of Guatemala who suffers from dwarfism and who advocated in Guatemala for increased legal protections for dwarfs, petitions our court to review the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA) decision denying him asylum, withholding of removal, and Convention Against Torture (CAT) relief.   The Ninth Circuit granted in part and denied in part Petitioner’s petition for review of the BIA’s decision upholding an immigration judge’s denial of asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the CAT and remanded. The panel concluded that it is evident from the record that the BIA failed to conduct a cumulative-effect review. The panel explained that the IJ analyzed each category of past harm in isolation and found that none individually rose to the level of persecution. In addition, the BIA failed to acknowledge Petitioner’s request for cumulative-effect review, and the BIA’s analysis did not demonstrate that it took a cumulative look at the various instances of harm Petitioner asserted. Instead, the BIA followed in the IJ’s footsteps, ticking off each of Petitioner’s categories of harm on an individual basis and finding that each amounted only to discrimination. The panel remanded for the agency to apply the correct legal framework to Petitioner’s asylum claim.   The panel held that the BIA also erred by applying asylum’s heightened “at least one central reason” nexus requirement to Petitioner’s withholding of removal claim, rather than the correct “a reason” standard. Finally, the panel concluded that substantial evidence supported the BIA’s conclusion that the Guatemalan government would not acquiesce in any torture Petitioner might suffer View "NERY SALGUERO SOSA V. MERRICK GARLAND" on Justia Law

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Petitioner is an illegal alien who was ordered removed in absentia. A decade and a half later, she moved to reopen her immigration proceedings on the ground that she never received notice of the time or location of her hearing. The immigration judge denied her motion. The Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed. The Petitioner complained that the United States informed her of her duty to provide address information where her notice to appear could be sent, but only in English, not Spanish.   The Fifth Circuit affirmed holding that the record indicates that she was warned in Spanish as well as English of the consequences of her failure to appear. And in any event, there is no legal authority to support her assertion that the United States is required to provide notice in any language other than English. View "Platero-Rosales v. Garland" on Justia Law