Articles Posted in Immigration Law

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The First Circuit denied the petition filed by Petitioner, a Guatemalan national, seeking judicial review of a final order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying her application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT). At the conclusion of a removal hearing, an immigration judge (IJ) concluded that Petitioner was ineligible for either asylum or withholding for removal because she was unable to show that the harm she suffered in Guatemala was on account of a statutorily protected ground. The IJ also concluded that Petitioner did not qualify for CAT protection. After the BIA upheld the IJ’s decision, Petitioner sought judicial review. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that, as to Petitioner’s application for asylum and for withholding of removal, the IJ and BIA supportably found that Petitioner failed to establish a nexus between the claimed harm and a statutorily protected ground. View "Perez-Rabanales v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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Gitau, a Kenyan citizen, married a U.S. citizen, Johnson, and became a lawful permanent resident on a conditional basis. Under 8 U.S.C. 1186a(c)(1)(A) and (B), she and Johnson could remove the conditional nature of her status by jointly filing Form I-751. They divorced, however, and Gitau was unable to satisfy the joint filing requirement. She filed a petition to waive the joint filing requirement, 8 U.S.C. 1186a(c)(4), which was denied. In removal proceedings she renewed her waiver request, arguing that she entered into the marriage in good faith and that her removal would result in extreme hardship. The IJ ruled against Gitau, finding her not to be a credible witness and that the evidence other than her own testimony was insufficient to support her claim of good faith. The IJ also found that Gitau had not demonstrated extreme hardship. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit dismissed a petition for review. The court noted inconsistencies in Gitau’s evidence and that, in 2007, Johnson purported to marry two other individuals seeking U.S. residence status. The only evidence of hardship not barred due to timing concerns was Gitau's testimony that it would be impossible for her to find work in her field in her parents' village in Kenya. View "Gitau v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The First Circuit dismissed for want of jurisdiction Petitioners’ petition for judicial review of the denial of their applications for voluntary departure to Guatemala and Mexico, holding that this court lacked jurisdiction to review the immigration judge’s (IJ) denial of voluntary departure. The IJ denied Petitioners’ applications on discretionary grounds. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed the IJ’s decision. Petitioners appealed, asserting several allegations of error. The First Circuit did not reach the merits of Petitioner’s contentions, holding that it lacked jurisdiction to do so because Petitioner’s claims of error were not at least colorable. View "de la Cruz-Orellana v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) rejecting Petitioner’s claim for withholding of removal. In her application for relief, Petitioner, a native and citizen of Honduras, alleged that she had an abusive relationship with her ex-husband. An immigration judge (IJ) concluded that Petitioner’s testimony was not credible and that the abuse compiled in documentary evidence was not sufficiently serious and persistent to warrant relief. The BIA dismissed Petitioner’s appeal based solely on its ruling that the IJ did not commit clear error in her adverse credibility determination. The First Circuit remanded the matter for further proceedings, holding that, irrespective of the supportability of the adverse credibility finding, remand was required for the BIA to consider Petitioner’s potentially significant documentary evidence. View "Aguilar-Escoto v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit sidestepped the government’s challenge to its jurisdiction in this immigration case and held that, even if it did have jurisdiction to consider Petitioner’s appeal challenging the Board of Immigration Appeals’s (BIA) denial of his motion to exercise its sua sponte authority to reopen Petitioner’s case and grant his request for cancellation of removal, it must still deny the petition. Specifically, the court held (1) Petitioner’s translation-based due process claim failed because Petitioner did not show that “a more proficient or more accurate interpretation would likely have made a dispositive difference in the outcome of the proceedinng” and because the claim found next to no support in the record; and (2) Petitioner failed to state a colorable due process claim as to his second allegation of error. View "Ramirez Matias v. Sessions" on Justia 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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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA) decision affirming the Immigration Judge’s (IJ) denial of her application for withholding of removal. Petitioner, a native and citizen of Guatemala, was charged with removability. Petitioner conceded removability but then applied for withholding of removal and for protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The IJ denied relief, and the BIA affirmed, concluding that Petitioner did not establish that she would likely be harmed by criminal gangs in Guatemala based upon an enumerated ground. Petitioner contested only the BIA’s ruling affirming the denial of her request for withholding of removal. The First Circuit held that there was substantial evidence to support the BIA’s findings. View "Marroquin-Rivera v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law