Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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The First Circuit held that members of the Financial Oversight and Management Board (Board Members) created by the 2016 Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) are “Officers of the United States” subject to the U.S. Constitution’s Appointments Clause and directed the district court to enter a declaratory judgment to the effect that PROMESA’s protocol for the appointment of Board Members is unconstitutional and must be severed. This matter arose from the restructuring of Puerto Rico’s public debt under PROMESA. May 2017, the Board exercised its authority under Title III of PROMESA to initiate debt adjustment proceedings on behalf of the Puerto Rico government. Appellants sought to dismiss the Title III proceedings, arguing that the Board lacked authority to initiate them because the Board Members were illegally appointed in contravention of the Appointments Clause. The district court rejected Appellants’ motions to dismiss. The First Circuit reversed in part, (1) the Territorial Clause does not displace the Appointments Clause in an unincorporated territory such as Puerto Rico; (2) Board Members are “Principal” “Officers of the United States” subject to the Appointments Clause; and (3) therefore, the process PROMESA provides for the appointment of Board Members is unconstitutional. View "Aurelius Investments, LLC v. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review of the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) upholding the immigration judge’s (IJ) denial of Petitioner’s application for both withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that the BIA’s decision was supported by substantial evidence. Specifically, the BIA ruled that the only social group to which Petitioner claimed to belong was not a social group that was statutorily protected and that Petitioner was not entitled to protection under the CAT. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Petitioner’s challenges to the BIA’s decision failed. View "Agustin v. Whitaker" 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) reversing the order of an immigration judge (IJ) granting Petitioner cancellation of removal under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act, holding that the “persecutor bar” - which disqualifies certain persons from immigration relief - does not require a showing that the alien shared the motive of the persecutors whom he assisted. Petitioner, a Salvadoran native and citizen, conceded that he stood guard for his superiors while they engaged in an act of persecution but argued that he acted without a personal motive to persecute. In granting Petitioner cancellation of removal, the IJ concluded that the persecutor bar did not apply to Petitioner because he lacked a motive to persecute. The BIA reversed, determining that the persecutor bar was applicable despite Petitioner’s lack of such a motive. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the persecutor bar does not require a showing that the applicant shared the motive of the persecutors whom he or she assisted. View "Alvarado v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review seeking to appeal an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner’s motion to reopen his immigration proceedings as untimely, holding that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in rejecting Petitioner’s equitable tolling argument. Petitioner’s motion to reopen was filed outside the ninety-day limitations period set forth by statute and regulation. The BIA denied the motion to reopen as untimely. Specifically, the BIA found that Petitioner had not exercised the due diligence required by case law, and thus the ninety-day limitations period for filing such a motion could not be equitably tolled. The First Circuit affirmed the BIA’s denial of Petitioner’s motion to reopen, holding that, even assuming that equitable tolling could apply to motions to reopen, Petitioner failed to show that he acted with the diligence required to obtain such relief. View "Medina v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition seeking judicial review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying her motion to reopen removal proceedings, holding that the BIA did not commit an error of law or abuse its wide discretion. After the Department of Homeland Security initiated removal proceedings against Petitioner and the case was remanded, an immigration judge (IJ) ultimately denied Petitioner’s motion to suppress, ordered Petitioner removed, and granted voluntary departure. The BIA upheld the IJ’s decision. Petitioner filed a motion to reopen, arguing that changed conditions in Mexico made her newly eligible for asylum. The BIA denied the motion to reopen. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to reopen. View "Garcia-Aguilar v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied and dismissed Petitioner’s petition challenging the Board of Immigration Appeals’s (BIA) denial of her motion to reopen and the BIA’s decision not to exercise its sua sponte authority to reopen her case to grant her request for an adjustment of status, holding that Petitioner was not entitled to relief. Specifically, the First Circuit held (1) Petitioner’s petition for review was denied as to her challenge to the BIA’s determination that the motion to reopen was untimely; and (2) because Petitioner had no colorable constitutional or legal claim on which the Court might base jurisdiction, the petition was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction as to Petitioner’s challenge to the BIA’s decision not to exercise its authority to reopen sua sponte. View "Gyamfi v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s appeal of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying her request for deferral of removal under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding holding that the BIA’s factual determinations were supported by reasonable, substantial and probative evidence on the record. Petitioner, a native and citizen of the Dominican Republic, sought deferral of removal under the CAT, basing her claim on domestic abuse that she suffered at the hands of her partner of fifteen years. An immigration judge (IJ) found Petitioner to be credible in describing her abuse and granted deferral of removal. The BIA reversed the IJ’s determination, noting that the IJ applied an incorrect legal standard. The BIA then concluded that Petitioner did not meet her burden of establishing that the government had acquiesced in her harm or would be more likely than not to do so if she were to return. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the BIA did not err in finding that Petitioner had not established that the government would acquiesce in her harm upon removal. View "Ruiz-Guerrero v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition seeking judicial review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissing his application for asylum, holding that substantial evidence supported the BIA’s determination that Petitioner was not entitled to asylum. Petitioner premised his asylum application on a claim that he had been persecuted in the past, and feared future persecution, by gang members on account of of his political opinion and/or membership in a particular social group. The immigration judge (IJ) rejected Petitioner’s request for asylum. The BIA upheld the IJ’s findings, determining that Petitioner had failed to establish a nexus between the harm that he described and any statutorily protected ground for asylum status. The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for judicial review, holding that Scatambuli v. Holder, 558 F.3d 53, 59 (1st Cir. 2009), controlled the outcome of this case, requiring that this Court uphold the BIA’s determination. View "Mendez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit upheld the rejection of Petitioner’s motion to reopen his removal proceedings by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and denied his petition for judicial review, holding that Petitioner failed to demonstrate due diligence in filing his untimely motion to reopen. Petitioner waited four and one-half years before moving to reopen his removal proceedings. The BIA denied the motion to reopen as untimely, finding no basis for equitable tolling, concluding that Petitioner had not exercised due diligence in filing his motion. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the BIA did not commit a material error of law and did not exercise its authority arbitrarily, capriciously, or irrationally by denying the motion to reopen. View "Pineda v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied in part and dismissed in part Petitioner’s petition for judicial review of a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision affirming an immigration judge’s (IJ) denial of his requests for asylum, for withholding of removal, and for protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding (1) the BIA did not err in upholding the IJ’s determination that Petitioner did not provide adequate corroboration for his claims; and (2) this Court lacked jurisdiction as to Petitioner’s claims regarding past persecution, ineffective assistance of counsel, and protection under the CAT. Specifically, the Court held (1) there was substantial evidence for the IJ’s determination that Petitioner did not provide adequate corroboration reasonably available to him for crucial elements of his claims; and (2) Petitioner’s remaining claims were waived to due a failure to exhaust administrative remedies. View "Avelar Gonzalez v. Whitaker" on Justia Law