Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision upholding the IJ's determination that petitioner was removable. The court held that petitioner failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with regard to his challenge to the determination that his firearm offense was a particularly serious crime; petitioner's argument regarding the purported futility of raising the issue to the BIA was unpersuasive; the IJ acted within its authority by considering the facts and circumstances set forth in the criminal complaint; the unlawful-possession-of-a-firearm offense qualified as a particularly serious crime and barred withholding of removal; and there was no reviewable claim of error in regard to the BIA's denial of relief under the Convention Against Torture. View "Marambo v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Corral, a native of Mexico, was admitted to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident in 1994. In 1999, he applied for naturalization. He became a U.S. citizen in 2000. He was then indicted on seven counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Less than five months after becoming a U.S. citizen, Corral pleaded guilty to Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse, under Illinois law, which then stated, “sexual conduct with a victim who was under 18 years of age when the act was committed and the accused was a family member.” In 2017, the government sought to revoke Corral’s citizenship on the grounds that he obtained his citizenship illegally and by willful misrepresentation or concealment of a material fact, 8 U.S.C. 1451(a), in that Corral lacked good moral character because he committed a crime involving moral turpitude within the statutory period of five years preceding his application for citizenship. The Seventh Circuit affirmed a ruling in favor of the government, rejecting defenses of “laches” and selective prosecution. Whether Corral made a willful misrepresentation or concealed a material fact is irrelevant because these factors do not relate to the ground for Corral’s denaturalization. View "United States v. Valenzuela" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to dismiss the indictment. Defendant had pleaded guilty to illegally being in the United States after having been removed after a felony conviction. The district court held that defendant failed to establish that the removal was fundamentally unfair and denied his motion to dismiss. The court held that when an expedited removal is alleged to be an element in a criminal prosecution, the defendant in that prosecution must, as a matter of due process, be able to challenge the element if he did not have a prior opportunity to do so. Because the rules attendant to expedited removal preclude review of the removal order, the defendant in a 8 U.S.C. 1326 prosecution premised on an expedited removal order under 8 U.S.C. 1225(b)(1)(A)(i) must be given the opportunity in the section 1326 prosecution to challenge the validity of that order. Because section 1225(b)(1)(D) strips courts in section 1326 prosecutions from hearing a defendant's challenge to an expedited removal element, the court held that this jurisdiction-stripping provision is unconstitutional. On the merits, the court held that defendant did not sufficiently demonstrate a reasonable probability that the Attorney General would have allowed him to withdraw his application for admission under section 1225(a)(4), and thus he failed to show prejudice, as required to demonstrate that his removal was fundamentally unfair. View "United States v. Silva" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a citizen of Guatemala, entered the U.S. without permission in 2002. He was charged as removable in 2013 and sought cancellation of removal. Petitioner admitted to paying $8,000 to an individual to help his brother and daughters unlawfully enter the U.S. in 2015 and 2016, after he was served with a notice to appear. The IJ determined Petitioner had engaged in alien smuggling, was not a person of good moral character, 8 U.S.C. 1101(f)(3), 1182(a)(6)(E), and was ineligible for cancellation of removal. The BIA rejected Petitioner's argument that events occurring after the service of a notice to appear could not be used to evaluate his good moral character under the stop-time rule, 8 U.S.C. 1229b(d)(1). Aliens who are ordered removed may apply for cancellation of removal if they have maintained a continuous physical presence in the U.S. for at least 10 years and have been a person of good moral character for such period. Under the “stop-time rule,” the physical presence period ends when DHS serves the notice to appear so that aliens cannot continue to accrue physical presence time during the pendency of lengthy removal proceedings. The Third Circuit denied his petition for review. The stop-time rule does not truncate the good moral character window. The relevant time period for evaluating an alien’s good moral character is the 10-year period before the final administrative decision on an alien’s application for cancellation of removal. View "Mejia-Castanon v. Attorney General United States" on Justia Law

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A Colombian father brought his one-year-old son, TCG, to the United States, planning that TCG would stay with TCG’s Colombian mother, who was attempting to immigrate to the U.S. Mother was detained by INS in Texas, so father left TCG with mother’s sister in Tennessee and returned home to Colombia. Mother was released on bond and joined TCG in Tennessee. About five months later, father visited the two in the U.S., then returned to Colombia, leaving TCG in the U.S. The relationship between mother and father, who were not married, soon deteriorated. Almost a year later, father filed a petition under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, 22 U.S.C. 9001(a)(2), claiming that TCG had been vacationing in the U.S. and that mother had wrongfully retained him there, beyond the expiration of his tourist visa. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the denial of the petition, finding that the U.S. was TCG’s habitual residence so that mother’s retention of the child was not wrongful. The acclimatization standard was “of limited utility” in TCG’s case, because of TCG’s age, but the court noted that TCG was “comfortable and settled” in his aunt’s home. The parental-intent standard was more appropriate in TCG’s case. Although father testified that he had always intended to return TCG to Colombia, the court found no evidence of any such plan. View "Vasquez v. Acevedo" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's conclusion that petitioner was ineligible for adjustment of status because he had previously provided material support to a terrorist organization. The court held that petitioner failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the material support bar did not apply. In this case, he failed to show that the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) he supported was not a terrorist organization, or that he did not know and should not reasonably have known that MFDC was a terrorist organization when he supported it. Finally, collateral estoppel and the law-of-the-case doctrine did not apply because the issue was not previously determined by a valid and final judgment. View "N'Diaye v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit withdrew its prior opinion and substituted the following opinion. The court held that 8 U.S.C. 1229(a)(1)(F)(i)—like its predecessor, 8 U.S.C. 1252b(a)(1)(F)(i)—requires an alien who is physically in the United States and subject to removal from the United States to provide a United States address to receive notice by mail. The court denied a petition for review of the BIA's dismissal of petitioner's appeal of the denial of her motion to reopen. The court held that petitioner was not entitled to reopen the in abstentia removal order under section 1229(a)(1)(F)(i) and the BIA properly rejected the argument that a Guatemalan address was sufficient under these circumstances. Assuming arguendo that an alien may satisfy her obligation to provide an address under section 1229(a)(1)(F)(i) by providing a foreign address, petitioner would still not prevail. Finally, petitioner was not denied due process and the government's warnings were sufficient to apprise petitioner that she needed to provide a full United States address to receive notices of hearing. View "Luna-Garcia v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit upheld the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) refusing to reopen Petitioner's removal proceedings, holding that the BIA properly determined that the conditions Petitioner faced in her homeland had not materially changed during the relevant period. Petitioner, a Ugandan national, conceded removability. The immigration judge (IJ) ordered Petitioner removed to Uganda, a final agency order that Petitioner did not appeal. Petitioner subsequently filed a timely motion to reopen her removal proceedings, which the IJ and BIA rejected. Petitioner later filed a second motion to reopen. The BIA denied the motion, determining that it was procedurally barred and that Petitioner failed to establish a material change in Ugandan country conditions. The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for judicial review, holding that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in finding that Petitioner failed to show a material change in country conditions. View "Nantume v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision dismissing petitioner's appeal from the IJ's determination that he was ineligible for cancellation of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act because he was convicted of a violation of a protection order. The panel held that the BIA's articulation in Matter of Medina-Jimenez and Matter of Obshatko, that the categorical approach does not apply to determining whether an alien's violation of a protection order under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(E)(ii) renders him convicted of an offense under section 1229b(b)(1)(C), is entitled to Chevron deference. The panel deferred under Chevron to the BIA's conclusion that section 1101(a)(48)(A) does not require that the underlying offense be labeled a crime as long as the proceedings are "criminal in nature" and contain "constitutional safeguards normally attendant upon a criminal adjudication." The panel also agreed with the BIA's decision that petitioner is ineligible for cancellation of removal. Accordingly, the panel upheld the BIA's decision and did not need to remand. View "Diaz-Quirazco v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Hernandez-Garcia’s husband entered the U.S. illegally in 2001. He sent her money in Guatemala, so she had a higher standard of living than her neighbors. In 2013, her oldest son left for the U.S. She began receiving anonymous notes asking for money and threatening her and her younger children. Hernandez-Garcia went to the police, who ignored her. The family left Guatemala. At the U.S. border, they were served with Notices to Appear. An immigration judge denied their applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. Hernandez-Garcia admitted that she told an officer that she did not fear persecution or torture and that she had left Guatemala because of poverty. The judge found the threats not sufficiently imminent or severe to be more than harassment and that Hernandez-Garcia failed to demonstrate a nexus between that harm and a protected ground, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(42)(A)). Perceived or actual wealth, alone, does not form the basis of a particular social group. The BIA affirmed, rejecting Hernandez-Garcia’s argument that the proceedings were jurisdictionally barred because of the absence of date-and-place information in the Notice; she received a later notice with that information and appeared at several hearings. The Seventh Circuit denied a petition for review. Hernandez-Garcia was not prejudiced by the omission of information in her Notice to Appear. “It is too big a leap from the indifference the police demonstrated ... to a finding that public officials would either torture her or stand by while others did.” View "Hernandez-Garcia v. Barr" on Justia Law