Articles Posted in Immigration Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Appellant’s conviction for marriage fraud in violation of 8 U.S.C. 1325(c), which prohibits knowingly entering into a marriage for the purpose of evading the immigration laws, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction. Specifically, the Court held (1) the evidence presented in this case amply supported the district court’s conclusion that Defendant duped his wife into marrying him in order to avoid deportation; and (2) the trier of fact could reasonably have concluded that Defendant harbored no intent to establish a life with his wife and instead married her solely to avoid deportation. View "United States v. Akanni" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review as to his challenge to the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA) determination that his motion to reopen was untimely and dismissed for lack of jurisdiction as to Petitioner’s challenge to the BIA’s decision to not exercise its sua sponte authority to reopen. The BIA found that Petitioner had submitted his motion to reopen long after the ninety-day limit and that Petitioner did not show that he fit within an exception to that limit. The BIA also determined that sua sponte reopening was unwarranted. The First Circuit held (1) that the BIA did not abuse its discretion as to the first issue; and (2) the Court lacked jurisdiction to consider Petitioner’s challenge as to the second issue. View "Reyes v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied the petition sought by Petitioners, natives and citizens of Guatemala, seeking review of the denial of their applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). An immigration judge (IJ) found Petitioners’ asylum applications to be untimely filed and found that Petitioners failed to carry their burden of proof with respect to their withholding of removal and CAT claims. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) adopted and affirmed the IJ’s decision. The First Circuit upheld the lower courts, holding (1) this Court lacked jurisdiction to review Petitioners’ claim that they fell within the “extraordinary circumstances” exception to the filing requirement of the asylum application; and (2) substantial evidence in the record supported the IJ and BIA’s finding that Petitioner failed to demonstrate that they suffered past persecution or had a well-founded fear of future persecution. View "Olmos-Colaj v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review from the denial of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The immigration judge (IJ) denied Petitioner’s application, ruling that his claimed social group was not a protected ground under the Immigration and Nationality Act and that Petitioner had not established a nexus between his alleged persecution, or fear of future persecution, and any protected ground. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) upheld the IJ’s decision, concluding that Petitioner did not establish that any persecution he had suffered or feared was on account of a protected ground. The First Circuit agreed, holding that there was substantial evidence before the IJ and BIA that Petitioner failed to meet his burden to establish a nexus between his alleged persecution and a statutorily protected ground. View "Lopez-Lopez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review from the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA) dismissal of her appeal from the denial of her application for asylum and withholding of removal of herself and, derivatively, her two minor children, holding that Petitioner’s challenge to the denial of her claims failed. At her removal proceedings before the immigration judge (IJ), Petitioner testified and submitted a declaration in support of her applications for asylum and withholding of removal, claiming that she suffered past persecution in Honduras on account of her membership in her family and that she had a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of her familial ties. The IJ denied Petitioner’s applications and ordered Petitioner and her minor children removed. The BIA dismissed Petitioner’s appeal. The First Circuit agreed with the IJ and the BIA, holding that Petitioner’s challenge to the denial of her asylum claim failed, and so, for identical reasons, did her challenge to the denial of her withholding of removal claim also fail. View "Sosa-Perez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review from the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA) dismissal of her appeal from the denial of her application for asylum and withholding of removal of herself and, derivatively, her two minor children, holding that Petitioner’s challenge to the denial of her claims failed. At her removal proceedings before the immigration judge (IJ), Petitioner testified and submitted a declaration in support of her applications for asylum and withholding of removal, claiming that she suffered past persecution in Honduras on account of her membership in her family and that she had a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of her familial ties. The IJ denied Petitioner’s applications and ordered Petitioner and her minor children removed. The BIA dismissed Petitioner’s appeal. The First Circuit agreed with the IJ and the BIA, holding that Petitioner’s challenge to the denial of her asylum claim failed, and so, for identical reasons, did her challenge to the denial of her withholding of removal claim also fail. View "Sosa-Perez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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In 1991, Valerio, a citizen of Costa Rica, entered the U.S. without inspection. She was apprehended and placed in deportation proceedings but failed to appear. Valerio's then-boyfriend purchased her a birth certificate and social security card in the name of Rosa Hernandez, a U.S. citizen who lived in Puerto Rico. From 1995-2007, Valerio used Hernandez's identity to secure employment, open lines of credit, purchase cars and a home, and defraud the government of over $176,000 in housing assistance, food stamps, and other welfare benefits. In 2006, Hernandez learned about the fraud. Valerio was apprehended and was found guilty of aggravated identity theft, 18 U.S.C. 1028A and three counts of mail fraud. 18 U.S.C. 1341. After Valerio served her sentence, DHS reopened Valerio’s deportation proceeding but mistakenly stated that she was subject to removal. An IJ denied her applications for asylum and withholding of removal, finding the conviction for aggravated identity theft a "particularly serious crime" under section 1231(b)(3)(B)(ii). Following a remand, the BIA concluded that in deportation and removal proceedings alike, its longstanding multi-factor "Frentescu" framework for determining whether a nonaggravated felony qualifies as a "particularly serious crime" remains the same, and again found Valerio ineligible for withholding. The First Circuit agreed. The nature and circumstances of Valerio's crime were fully and properly considered." View "Valerio-Ramirez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit remanded this immigration case to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) due to its insufficient explanation of why the least culpable conduct prohibited under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, 2 is morally reprehensible, and why the statute’s requirement of “malice,” as construed by Massachusetts courts, qualifies the crime as a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT). Petitioner, a native and citizen of the Dominican Republic, was charged as removable. Petitioner denied his removability and, in the alternative, requested several forms of relief. Petitioner was previously convicted of the crime of Massachusetts arson. The immigration judge (IJ) concluded that Petitioner’s Massachusetts crime was categorically a CIMT. The IJ also found Petitioner ineligible for relief from removal on the basis that he failed to prove that his conviction was not an aggravated felony. The BIA dismissed Petitioner’s appeal in an opinion that replicated the IJ’s reasoning. The First Circuit granted Petitioner’s petition for review, vacated the BIA’s opinion, and remanded for further proceedings for the reasons set forth above. View "Rosa Pena v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner’s applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture Act (CAT). In her applications, Petitioner, a citizen of El Salvador, claimed that she was persecuted, and faced future persecution, at the hands of Salvadorian gang members on account of her family membership. An immigration judge (IJ) credited Petitioner’s testimony as true but nonetheless denied relief. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) Petitioner could not satisfy her claim for asylum, and therefore, she also could not satisfy her claim for withholding of removal; and (2) Petitioner provided no basis by which the court should reverse the BIA’s decision denying her protection under the CAT. View "Villalta-Martinez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied the petition for review filed by Petitioner, a native and citizen of Honduras, seeking relief from the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming an immigration judge’s (IJ) denial of Petitioner’s application for withholding of removal (WOR) and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). In his application, Petitioner claimed that he had experienced past persecution and faced a clear probability of future persecution in Honduras on account of his family membership. The IJ determined that Petitioner failed to establish that he had suffered - or was likely to suffer in the future - harm that was sufficient to constitute persecution and related to his family membership. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review, holding that none of Petitioner’s claims warranted relief from the decisions of the IJ and BIA. View "Ruiz-Escobar v. Sessions" on Justia Law