Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

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Zaragoza, a citizen of Mexico and a lawful U.S. permanent resident, pleaded guilty to the Indiana offense of criminal neglect of a dependent after locking her six-year-old son in a closet for six hours. She was sentenced to one year in jail, suspended to time served plus 30 days. After completing her sentence, she traveled abroad. When she returned, DHS found Zaragoza inadmissible based on the neglect conviction, which the agency classified as a “crime involving moral turpitude,” 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I). An immigration judge entered a removal order. In the meantime, Zaragoza petitioned the state court to modify her sentence, to bring herself within the “petty offense” exception to inadmissibility, which is available to first-time offenders sentenced to six months or less. The state court reduced her sentence to 179 days.The BIA rejected Zaragoza’s arguments, finding that the Indiana offense was categorically a crime involving moral turpitude and that the sentence modification order was not effective to establish Zaragoza’s eligibility for the petty-offense exception. The Board relied on a 2019 Attorney General decision declaring that state-court sentence modification orders are effective for immigration purposes only if based on a legal defect in the underlying criminal proceeding (Thomas). The Seventh Circuit remanded. Applying Thomas in Zaragoza’s case is an impermissibly retroactive application of a new rule. View "Zaragoza v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that denied Petitioner's motion to reopen and terminate his removal proceedings but granted the petition and vacated the BIA's ruling as to Petitioner's motion to reopen and rescind an in absentia removal order against him, holding that Petitioner received the requisite notice.In his motion to reopen to terminate his removal proceedings Petitioner argued that the immigration court lacked jurisdiction over his removal proceedings and in his motion in the alternative to reopen and rescind his removal order in absentia he argued that he did not receive proper notice in accordance with 8 U.S.C. 1229(a). The First Circuit rejected Petitioner's first argument but agreed with his second, holding that the BIA did not permissibly construe the term "notice" in concluding that Petitioner received the requisite notice to be ordered removed in absentia for failing to appear at his removal proceedings. View "Laparra-Deleon v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The Special Immigrant Juveniles (“SIJ”) program provides certain immigrant juveniles a pathway to lawful permanent residence status. Under 8 U.S.C. Section 1232(d)(2), applications for SIJ status “shall be adjudicated” not later than 180 days after they are filed. Plaintiffs—three SIJ petitioners representing a certified class of some current and future SIJ petitioners from Washington State—filed suit in the district court against USCIS and other federal government defendants (the “Government”). The district court held that USCIS’s delays were unlawful, and the Government did not challenge that holding on appeal. At issue on appeal was only whether the district court erred, after granting summary judgment to Plaintiffs, by issuing a permanent injunction and in crafting its terms and scope.   The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s issuance of a permanent injunction, vacated a provision of the injunction that permits SIJ petitioners (but not USCIS) to “toll” the deadline for adjudicating SIJ petitions, and remanded. The panel explained that there is an inconsistency between the reach of the jurisdictional bar as it appears in the provision that enacted it, as opposed to how it appears as codified in the United States Code.   The panel concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in entering the permanent injunction. The panel rejected the Government’s claims that the district court failed to consider the operational hardship on the Government in balancing hardships, and that the district court relied upon stale evidence to determine that Plaintiffs were likely to suffer irreparable harm. View "LEOBARDO MORENO GALVEZ, ET AL V. UR JADDOU, ET AL" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit granted in part Petitioner's petition for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the denial of Petitioner's application for withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and for protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that the BIA erred in rejecting Petitioner's social group claim.An immigration judge denied Petitioner's application for withholding of removal and ordered him removed. The BIA dismissed Petitioner's appeal, finding that Petitioner had not established eligibility for withholding of removal. The First Circuit granted in part Petitioner's petition for review and vacated in part the decision of the BIA, holding (1) the BIA's decision rejecting Petitioner's social group claim was in error, and remand was required for the BIA to consider whether Petitioner's proposed social group satisfied the requirements for constituting a particular social group under the INA to which Petitioner belonged; and (2) Petitioner was not entitled to relief on his remaining claims of error. View "Chavez v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit granted Petitioner's petition for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the denial of Petitioner's application for deferral of removal to Honduras under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that the BIA erred in its review of the decision of the immigration judge (IJ).The IJ denied deferral of removal to Honduras, concluding that Petitioner was not likely to be tortured by, or with the consent or acquiescence of, the Honduran government. The BIA found no error in the IJ's determination. The First Circuit reversed, holding the the BIA erred when it (1) applied the incorrect standard of review to uphold the IJ's denial of CAT relief as to Honduras; (2) improperly failed to address Petitioner's argument that he would likely be tortured by or at the instigation of Honduran officials; and (3) failed meaningfully to address Petitioner's argument that MS-13 members may act under color of law. View "H.H. v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of a final removal order upheld by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), holding that the BIA did not commit legal error or abuse its discretion in failing adequately to address new evidence.Petitioner, a native and citizen of Cape Verde, sought adjustment of status under 8 U.S.C. 1255(a) through his U.S.-citizen son. The immigration judge (IJ) denied Petitioner's application for adjustment of status, and the BIA affirmed. The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review, holding (1) the arguments and challenges Petitioner put forth as to the denial of his application for adjustment of status were neither constitutionally cognizable nor legally colorable; and (2) there was no basis to overturn the BIA's decision to deny the motion to remand the case. View "Moreno v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissing his appeal of an order of the immigration judge (IJ) denying Petitioner nunc pro tunc relief from removal, holding that there was no error in the agency's decision.Petitioner was charged with removability. Petitioner denied the charges, arguing that the Department of Homeland Appeals should be equitably estopped from removing him, and sought cancellation of removal, nunc pro tunc relief under former section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and voluntary departure. The IJ determined that Petitioner was ineligible for relief from removal. The BIA dismissed the appeal. The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review, holding (1) Petitioner was not eligible for nunc pro tunc relief under former section 212(c); and (2) Defendant was not entitled to equitable estoppel. View "Reyes-Batista v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit dismissed Petitioner's petition for review of the denial by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) of his application for withholding of removal under 8 U.S.C. 1231(b)(3), holding that the petition is dismissed due to Petitioner's failure to exhaust an issue upon which which his argument on appeal depended.After he was placed in removal proceedings Petitioner sought asylum and withholding of removal or, in the alternative, voluntary departure. The immigration judge (IJ) denied all claims, and the BIA affirmed without opinion. Petitioner appealed, challenging only the BIA's denial of his application for withholding of removal. The First Circuit dismissed the petition for review, holding that because Petitioner did not challenge the aspect of the IJ's ruling to the BIA that he now appealed, he could not bring that challenge to the First Circuit in the first instance because the issue was not exhausted. View "Cante-Lopez v. Garland" on Justia Law

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An immigration judge (“IJ”) denied Petitioner’s application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under he Convention Against Torture based on his failure to adequately corroborate his claim with documentary evidence. The Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) affirmed. Petitioner argued that the BIA was unduly deferential to the IJ’s determination that corroboration was required.The Second Circuit denied the petition for review. The court held that the BIA reviews de novo an IJ’s determination under 8 U.S.C. Section 1158(b)(1)(B)(ii) that an applicant should provide additional evidence that corroborates otherwise credible testimony, because that is not a finding of fact. In contrast, the BIA reviews for clear error an IJ’s finding as to whether an applicant does not have and cannot reasonably obtain such corroborating evidence because that is a finding of fact. Here, the court explained that the BIA properly applied de novo review to the IJ’s request for corroborating evidence and properly reviewed for clear error the IJ’s finding that Petitioner failed to produce requested evidence that he could reasonably have obtained. View "Pinel-Gomez v. Garland" on Justia Law

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Petitioners natives and citizens of El Salvador, petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA) denial of Petitioners’ motion to reconsider the BIA’s prior order, which upheld the immigration judge’s (IJ) decision finding the Petitioners removable and denying their applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT)   The Eighth Circuit denied the petition. The court explained that here, in denying Petitioners’ motion to reconsider, the BIA reaffirmed its previous finding that Petitioners have not persuasively shown any error of law or fact in our prior decision to establish that the Salvadoran government would be unable or unwilling to control the individuals they fear. In their petition for review, Petitioners do not meaningfully argue that the BIA erred in reaching this conclusion and have accordingly waived any challenge to such a finding. Thus, Petitioners cannot show that they suffered persecution and their claims for relief necessarily fail. View "Fatima Coreas-Chavez v. Merrick Garland" on Justia Law