Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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The First Circuit upheld the finding of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that Petitioner was eligible for removal because third-degree larceny under Connecticut law is an aggravated felony. Removal proceedings were commenced against Petitioner on the basis that his conviction was for a “theft offense” within the meaning of 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43) (G) and was therefore an “aggravated felony” that rendered him eligible for removal. The BIA dismissed Petitioner’s appeal. The First Circuit upheld the BIA’s decision, holding that Petitioner’s Connecticut conviction is a conviction for a “theft offense” because the range of conduct sufficient to sustain a conviction for third-degree larceny under Connecticut law is not broader than that which constitutes a “theft offense” under the Immigration and Nationality Act. View "De Lima v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The Attorney General has the discretion to cancel the removal of a non-permanent resident alien if the alien, among other things, has ten years of continuous physical presence in the United States. At issue here was whether, for purposes of the “stop-time” rule, an alien’s period of continuous physical presence ends when the alien is served a notice to appear that does not contain the date and time of the alien’s initial hearing. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) answered this question in the affirmative in Matter of Camarillo, 25 I. & N. Dec. 644 (B.I.A. 2011). In the instant case, Petitioner conceded removability but sought relief in the form of cancellation of removal under 8 U.S.C. 1229b(b)(1), arguing that the notice to appear had not stopped the continuous residency clock because it was defective where it did not include the date and time of his hearing. An Immigration Judge ordered Petitioner removed. The BIA affirmed, concluding that the notice to appear was effective under the stop-time rule. The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review, holding that the BIA’s decision in Camarillo was entitled to Chevron deference. Therefore, Petitioner was unable to demonstrate the requisite ten years of physical presence and was thus ineligible for cancellation of removal. View "Pereira v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA) denial of his untimely motion to reopen removal proceedings based on changed conditions. Petitioner, a Mexican national, conceded a charge of removability under 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(6)(A)(i) but denied the charges. Petitioner later applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. An immigration judge denied the petition. The BIA denied Petitioner’s appeal. More than three years later, Petitioner moved to reopen removal proceedings, arguing that his petition to reopen should be granted because the conditions in his home country had deteriorated and intensified. The BIA denied Petitioner’s motion to reopen. The First Circuit concluded that the BIA properly exercised its discretion and found that Petitioner failed to demonstrate changed conditions. View "Sanchez-Romero v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the decision of Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) determining that the Massachusetts crime of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (ABDW) is categorically a crime involving mural turpitude under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The effect of the BIA’s opinion was to render Petitioner ineligible for cancellation of removal. Petitioner had pleaded guilty to one count of Massachusetts ABDW, after which the Department of Homeland Security initiated removal proceedings against him. Petitioner applied for cancellation of removal. The immigration judge (IJ) denied relief, concluding that Massachusetts ABDW is categorically a CIMT because of the presence of an aggravating element - the use of a dangerous weapon. The BIA agreed with the IJ. The First Circuit remanded the case for further consideration, as there were too many questions about the BIA’s thinking on the mental state required for a Massachusetts reckless ABDW conviction for the court to review the BIA’s CIMT determination. View "Coelho v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs brought this action under the Administrative Procedure Act seeking review of two biological opinions (BiOps) issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) evaluating requested modifications of existing licenses to operate four hydropower dams on the Kennebec River in Maine. FERC was required to obtain BiOps from the Fisheries Service on whether operating the dams under the proposed license modifications would jeopardize survival of the salmon species. The Fisheries Service issued an “incidental take statement,” finding that the proposed modifications would result in the incidental taking of individual fish among the protected population. Plaintiffs, environmental organizations participating in the licensing proceedings, challenged the statements. While the case was pending, FERC granted the license modifications. The district court dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that circumstances eliminated whatever claims of district court jurisdiction to review the BiOps Plaintiffs might have raised when this action was filed. View "Maine Council of the Atlantic Salmon Federation v. National Marine Fisheries Service" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit declined enforcement of the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) order requiring 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East (the Union) and Good Samaritan Medical Center to reinstate Camille Legley with back pay and rescind a workplace civility policy, holding that there was not substantial evidence on the record as a whole that Legley was discharged because of his protected conduct. Legley, a probationary employee hired by Good Samaritan, questioned a union delegate’s alleged remark during an orientation training that he had to join the Union in order to work at Good Samaritan. Good Samaritan terminated Legley’s employment the following day, claiming that Legley’s conduct had violated its civility policy. The NLRB found that the Union caused Good Samaritan to discharge Legally because of his protected conduct. In denying enforcement of the NLRB’s order the First Circuit held that the NLRB’s decision ignored a portion of the record and could not survive review under the substantial evidence standard. View "Good Samaritan Medical Center v. National Labor Relations Board" on Justia Law

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In this immigration case, the First Circuit vacated the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) upholding the decision of the Immigration Judge (IJ) denying Petitioner’s applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). In his petition for review, Petitioner, a native of Guatemala, argued that he presented sufficient evidence to establish both past persecution and a well-founded fear of future persecution and that he could not reasonably relocate within Guatemala. The First Circuit granted the petition for review and remanded for further proceedings, holding (1) there was significant evidence in the record supporting a conclusion that relocation would be unreasonable; and (2) given the limited analysis on this issue by the IJ and the BIA, remand was proper for the BIA to consider it fully. View "Garcia-Cruz v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a citizen of Guatemala, petitioned for review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying his requests for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The BIA affirmed the decision of the Immigration Judge (IJ), concluding (1) the level of mistreatment Petitioner suffered did not rise to the level that could qualify as persecution to be entitled to a grant of asylum, and (2) Petitioner could not meet the requirements for withholding of removal and for protection under the CAT. The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review, holding (1) Petitioner failed to provide the court with a basis for reversing the BIA’s ruling denying his application for asylum; and (2) Petitioner failed to offer any basis on which to conclude that he could satisfy the requirements for withholding for removal or for protection under the CAT. View "Morales-Morales v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit held that the five-day grace period outlined in 20 C.F.R. 422.210(c) does not apply to final decisions on remand where the individual does not file any written exceptions to the administrative law judge's decision and the Appeals Council does not assume jurisdiction of the case. Plaintiff applied for Title II disability benefits with the Social Security Administration. On remand, an ALJ issued a partially favorable decision on Plaintiff’s claim. Plaintiff did not file any written exceptions to the ALJ’s decision, and the Appeals Council did not review the ALJ’s decision. Therefore, the ALJ’s decision became the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security. Plaintiff then filed a civil action challenging the ALJ’s decision on remand. The Commissioner moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s claim as untimely. The district court ruled against Plaintiff and dismissed her complaint for being untimely filed. Plaintiff appealed, asking the First Circuit to hold that the five-day grace period outlined in section 422.210(c) applies to final decisions on remand. The First Circuit declined Plaintiff’s request, holding that Plaintiff cannot apply the five-day grace period under section 422.210(c) to save her civil claim from being untimely. View "Walker-Butler v. Berryhill" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that aliens who are subject to reinstated orders of removal may not apply for asylum, even though they may be entitled to withholding of removal. In reaching this conclusion, the First Circuit ruled that certain provisions of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 did not entitle Petitioner, a citizen of Guatemala who was subject to a reinstated order of removal, to seek asylum. The First Circuit affirmed the decisions of the immigration judge (IJ) and Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that determined that Petitioner could not apply for asylum even where the IJ determined that he was entitled to withholding of removal based on the persecution he would face in Guatemala. View "Garcia-Garcia v. Sessions" on Justia Law