Justia U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law
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The First Circuit granted in part one of Petitioner's petitions for review of the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ordering Petitioner removed, holding that remand was required.The same day the denial of Petitioner's I-751 petition to remove the conditions of his residency was issued, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiated removal proceedings against Petitioner. Petitioner subsequently divorced his former wife and married anew. Petitioner's new wife filed an application for adjustment of Petitioner's status on the basis of their marriage and an I-751 waiver petition. Petitioner was subsequently indicted for kidnapping and two counts of sexual assault. The IJ granted Petitioner's application for adjustment of status. The BIA sustained the DHS's appeal and ordered Petitioner removed without acknowledging that Petitioner had a pending I-751 waiver. The First Circuit held (1) the BIA abused its discretion in denying Petitioner's motion to reconsider based on two clear-error-standard violations; and (2) remand was required for consideration of the effect, if any, of the final denial of the I-751 waiver on Petitioner's motions. View "Adeyanju v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the ruling of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner's application for asylum, withholding of removal, protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), and voluntary departure, holding that the BIA's determination was supported by substantial evidence.Petitioner, a native and citizen of Guatemala, was charged with removability. Petitioner conceded removability and applied for asylum, withholding of removal, protection under the CAT, and post-conclusion voluntary departure. The immigration judge (IJ) found that Petitioner's asylum claim failed on the merits and that Petitioner was not entitled to relief on his remaining arguments for relief. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that substantial evidence supported the decisions of the IJ and the BIA. View "Lopez-Perez v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit dismissed Petitioner's petition for review of a final administrative removal order (FARO) issued against her in 2018 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), holding that this Court lacked jurisdiction over the petition.The DHS issued a FARO against Petitioner stating that she was removable under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii) because she had been convicted of an aggravated felony as defined in 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(K). While Petitioner's petition for review of the FARO was still pending the DHS issued a notice to appear for separate removal proceedings pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1229a based on Petitioner's extended presence in the United States after her visa had expired. The DHS subsequently canceled the FARO. The First Circuit dismissed Petitioner's petition for review, holding that in the wake of the government's purported cancellation of Petitioner's FARO, the cancellation will result in there being no final removal order against Petitioner at the present time. View "Xu v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied in part Petitioner's petition for judicial review and remanded this immigration case to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) for further consideration, holding that remand was required for consideration of an argument Petitioner raised before the BIA but the BIA did not address.The BIA in this case affirmed an immigration judge's (IJ) decision denying Petitioner asylum relief, withholding of removal under Immigration and Nationality Act, protection pursuant to the Convention Against Torture Act, and ordering her removed. Petitioner filed a petition for review. The First Circuit remanded the case, holding (1) because the BIA did not address Petitioner's argument that the record evidence supported Petitioner's membership in a particular social group, that of Salvadoran female small business owners, remand was required for such consideration; and (2) this Court lacked jurisdiction to hear Petitioner's second claim. View "Gomez-Abrego v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied a petition for review of a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that affirmed the denial of Appellant's application for adjustment of status on statutory and federal constitutional grounds, holding that there was no error.Appellant conceded removability but sought to remain in the country by applying for adjustment of status under 8 U.S.C. 1255(a). An immigration judge denied Appellant's application for adjustment of status, concluding that Appellant had not met his burden of showing that he merited a favorable exercise of discretion. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed. The First Circuit denied Appellant's petition for review, holding that Appellant's claims on appeal were without merit. View "Thomas v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit granted in part and denied in part Appellant's petition for review of the judgment of the board of immigration appeals (BIA) finding that Appellant was ineligible for asylum and denying her application for withholding of removal, holding that Appellant's application for withholding of removal should be remanded.Appellant, a native of Guatemala, applied for relief that included asylum and withholding of removal. The immigration judge (IJ) and the BIA denied relief. On appeal, the government conceded that Appellant's application for withholding of removal should be remanded due to the failure of the IJ and BIA to consider relevant aspects of Appellant's claims of past persecution. The First Circuit (1) vacated the denial of Appellant's application for withholding from removal, holding that the IJ and BIA erred by failing to consider certain evidence and by failing to provide her with an opportunity to explain why she could not provide certain corroborating evidence in connection with her request for withholding; and (2) held that it lacked jurisdiction to review the denial of Appellant's request for asylum. View "Ixcuna-Garcia v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals affirming Petitioner's order of removal and denying his requests for cancellation of removal and voluntary departure, holding that a conviction under R.I. Gen. Laws (RIGL) 31-9-1 is not categorically a theft offense.In 2016, Petitioner, a citizen of Cape Verde who came to the United States as a lawful permanent resident in 1989, was convicted in a Rhode Island superior court of driving a motor vehicle without consent of the owner or lessee, in violation of RIGL 31-9-1. Thereafter, the Department of Homeland Security initiated removal proceedings against Petitioner. Petitioner argued that he was eligible for cancellation of removal and voluntary departure because a conviction under RIGL 31-9-1 did not constitute an aggravated felony theft offense. An immigration judge (IJ) determined that Petitioner's Rhode Island conviction was categorically a theft offense, thus denying relief. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed. The First Circuit vacated the BIA's opinion, holding that Petitioner's conviction under RIGL 31-9-1 did not constitute a categorical aggravated felony theft offense. View "Da Graca v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit granted in part Petitioner's petition appealing the board of Immigration Appeals' (BIA) denial of Petitioner's application for withholding of removal under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 241(b)(3) and relief under article 3 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that remand was required.In denying Petitioner's application, the immigration judge found that Defendant's testimony was entitled to limited weight and that Petitioner's failure to provide corroborating evidence was fatal to his claim for relief. The BIA summarily affirmed. The First Circuit vacated the denials of withholding of relief under the CAT and remanded the case for further consideration, holding that in light of certain irregularities in the record, this Court could not uphold the IJ's determination that the record was supported by sufficient indicia of reliability to be used in assessing Petitioner's credibility. View "Bonilla v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied in part and dismissed in part Petitioner's petition for review of a final order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the decision of an immigration judge (IJ) finding Petitioner removable and ordering him removed from the United States, holding that this Court lacked jurisdiction in part.At issue was the denial of Petitioner's application for adjustment of immigration status, waiver of inadmissibility, asylum withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. On appeal, Petitioner argued that the agency relied on a wrong legal standard and wrongfully applied that standard in his case. The First Circuit held (1) the BIA adequately considered the question of extraordinary circumstances called for in Matter of Jean, 23 I. & N. Dec. 373 (A.G. 2002); and (2) this Court lacked jurisdiction to consider the relative weight the BIA accorded to the evidence to deny the waiver of inadmissibility. View "Peulic v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit granted Petitioner's petition for review of a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the denial of Petitioner's claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that the immigration judge's (IJ) credibility judgment was not supported by substantial evidence.The IJ rejected Petitioner's petition for relief based on an adverse credibility determination that primarily drew its support from a gang assessment database. The BIA affirmed. Petitioner then petitioned for review, arguing that the agency's reliance on the flawed gang package undermined the credibility finding and resulted in a due process violation. The First Circuit granted the petition after noting the flaws in the gang assessment database, including the database's reliance on an erratic point system built on unsubstantiated inferences, holding that neither the agency's adverse credibility determination nor its denial of Petitioner's claims was supported by substantial evidence. View "Ortiz v. Garland" on Justia Law