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

Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law
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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for relief from removal on the grounds of asylum, withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act, and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) did not err in affirming the immigration judge's (IJ) decision to deny Petitioner's application.Specifically, the First Circuit held (1) the record did not indicate that Petitioner either faced or would face persecution on the basis of his nationality, his religion, or his political beliefs; and (2) therefore, Petitioner was not able to meet the higher threshold for his claim of withholding of removal and his CAT claim. View "Thile v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the judgment of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the denial of Petitioner's application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that substantial evidence did not support the BIA's decision.The immigration judge (IJ) determined that Petitioner was not a credible witness and therefore found that he had failed to establish his burden of proof with respect to his application. The BIA dismissed Petitioner's appeal, thus declining to remand the case in light of new evidence submitted for the first time on appeal. The First Circuit vacated the BIA's decision, holding that the IJ's adverse credibility finding was not supportable. View "Cuesta-Rojas v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit reversed the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner's request to reopen removal proceedings based on changed country circumstances, holding that the BIA's failure to assess whether certain changes were sufficient was arbitrary and capricious.Petitioner, a native and citizen of Albania, applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture, arguing that he and his family had been persecuted due to Petitioner's support of the Democratic Party in Albania and that the family had a well-founded fear of future persecution. An immigration judge denied relief, and the BIA affirmed. Petitioner later asked the BIA to reopen his case on the ground that government corruption had deteriorated in Albania. The BIA denied the request. The First Circuit reversed, holding that the BIA "exercised its judgment in an arbitrary, capricious, or irrational manner." View "Lucaj v. Wilkinson" on Justia Law

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In this case involving litigation over milk price regulation in Puerto Rico the First Circuit vacated the judgment of the district court granting ORIL's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and remanded to the district court with instructions to return the case to the Puerto Rico Court of First Instance, holding that the district court lacked federal subject matter jurisdiction over this dispute.Industria Lechera de Puerto Rico, Inc. (Indulac) filed a challenge to the 2017 price order issued by the Milk Industry Regulation Administration for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the Puerto Rico Court of First Instance, arguing that ORIL had failed to comply with certain procedural administrative requirements before issuing the order. ORIL filed a notice of removal, asserting federal jurisdiction based on 28 U.S.C. 1331 and 1441(a) and (c). The district court found that it had jurisdiction and then granted ORIL's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment, holding that federal courts lacked jurisdiction over this matter. View "Industria Lechera de Puerto Rico, Inc. v. Flores" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the order of the immigration judge (IJ) denying Petitioner's application for withholding of removal, holding that the IJ and BIA made legal errors.Petitioner, a native and citizen of Honduras, twice entered the United States without authorization. After the government ordered Petitioner removed to Honduras, Petitioner filed an application for withholding of removal. The IJ denied the motion. The BIA affirmed and denied Petitioner's motion to reopen and remand. The First Circuit vacated the removal order and remanded the case to the BIA for further proceedings, holding (1) the BIA erred in dismissing Petitioner's appeal based on her failure to corroborate; and (2) the BIA erred in finding that Petitioner did not adequately apply for relief under the Convention Against Torture. View "Molina-Diaz v. Rosen" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the determination of an immigration judge (IJ) that Petitioners, a husband and wife who were natives and citizens of Brazil, were not eligible for an adjustment of status pursuant to the "grandfathering" provisions of section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), holding that the BIA and IJ did not appropriately focus their inquiry.On appeal, Petitioners argued that the BIA applied incorrect standards in determining that a labor certification application (LCA) filed on behalf of the petitioner husband was not "approvable when filed" and erred in denying their motion to remand. The First Circuit held (1) determining whether an LCA is approvable when filed requires a holistic inquiry that is not a license to deny grandfathering based on any perceived shortcoming in an LCA; and (2) the IJ and BIA did not keep their focus on that inquiry in the course of their evaluation of the petitioner's LCA. View "Oliveira v. Wilkinson" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Appellants' motion to intervene in the underlying suit involving a challenge to the U.S. Department of Education's recent promulgation of a challenged regulation, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying the motion to intervene.The regulation at issue sets the standard for actionable sexual harassment for administrative enforcement of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and provides additional procedural protections to students who have been accused of sexual harassment. Appellants - the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Independent Women's Law Center, and Speech First, Inc. - moved to intervene. The district court denied the motion, finding that Appellants had failed to show that the government would not adequately protect their rights. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying intervention. View "Victim Rights Law Center v. Foundation for Individual Rights in Education" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for judicial review seeking to set aside the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the denial of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and other relief, holding that the BIA's decision must be upheld.On appeal, Petitioner's principal assignment of error challenged the denial of his asylum claim. Petitioner specifically argued against the adverse credibility determination of the immigration judge (IJ), which the BIA upheld. The First Circuit denied the petition for review, holding (1) the IJ's adverse credibility determination was supported by substantial evidence in the record, and therefore, the BIA's denial of Petitioner's asylum claim must be upheld; (2) because Petitioner failed to satisfy the standard required for asylum, his claim for withholding of removal necessarily failed; and (3) Petitioner's claim for CAT protection is deemed abandoned. View "Zaruma-Guaman v. Wilkinson" on Justia Law

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In these three consolidated appeals arising out of the Title III debt-restructuring proceedings brought by the Financial Oversight and Management Board (Board) for Puerto Rico on behalf of the Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corporation (COFINA) under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) the First Circuit held that certain appeals were equitably moot and another claim was properly dismissed.The Title III court approved a plan of adjustment (the Plan) proposed by the Board resolving disputes between the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and COFINA and between the junior and senior holders of COFINA's outstanding debt. The Elliott and Pinto-Lugo groups objected to the Plan, arguing, among other things, that it unlawfully abrogated their rights as junior COFINA bondholders. Peter Hein, an individual creditor, challenged the dismissal of his proof of claim against COFINA. The Title III court dismissed Hein's challenges and overruled the objections to the Plan. On Appeal, the First Circuit (1) dismissed the Elliott and Pinto-Lugo appeals as equitably moot; and (2) affirmed the dismissal of Hein's claims against COFINA. View "Pinto Lugo v. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit granted Petitioner's petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' (BIA) denial of his motion to reopen his removal proceedings and to remand to the immigration judge (IJ) for further consideration, holding that the BIA abused its discretion.Petitioner sought reconsideration due to the fact that he had been placed on a waiting list by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a U-1 nonimmigrant visa pursuant to the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA), 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(U). In denying Petitioner's motion to reopen his removal proceedings, the BIA gave two reasons for its denial. The First Circuit reversed and remanded the case, holding that the BIA abused its discretion because it failed to render a reasoned decision that accords with its own precedent and policies and failed to consider the position of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. View "Benitez v. Wilkinson" on Justia Law