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

Articles Posted in Immigration Law
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The First Circuit vacated the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying asylum and withholding of removal as to Petitioner's family membership persecution claim for relief, denied the relief Petitioner sought on alternate particular social group (PSG) theories and for protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), and remanded for proceedings on Petitioner's family membership persecution claim, holding that the agency's decision was based on errors of law. Petitioner, a Honduran nation, sought asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT relief, asserting that he had experienced past persecution on account of a protected ground - his membership in his mother's nuclear family - and would face future persecution. The immigration judge denied asylum relief, holding that Petitioner had not met his burden to show the required nexus. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit vacated in part, holding (1) the BIA's decision as to Petitioner's asylum and withholding of removal claims based on his persecution as a member of his mother's family was based on legal errors, requiring a remand for the BIA to make its own finding using the correct legal standard; and (2) the BIA's decision as to Petitioner's other proposed PSGs and his CAT claim contained no legal errors and was supported by substantial evidence. View "Enamorado-Rodriguez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied in part and dismissed in part Petitioner's petition for review from a ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) rejecting his request for deferral of removal pursuant to the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that this Court lacked jurisdiction to review the BIA's acceptance of the immigration judge's (IJ) adverse credibility finding and that Petitioner's remaining challenges were without merit. Before the First Circuit, Petitioner, among other things, challenged the standard of review that the BIA used to review the IJ's ruling. The First Circuit denied relief, holding (1) there was no evidence that the BIA used the incorrect standard of review to review the IJ's ruling; (2) because Petitioner had not contested the IJ's adverse credibility finding before the BIA, this Court lacked jurisdiction to review the BIA's acceptance of that finding; and (3) Petitioner failed to show that the record compelled a finding other than the one the IJ reached that Petitioner failed to show he was more likely than not to be tortured if he were removed to Guatemala. View "Samayoa Cabrera v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for judicial review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissing Petitioner's appeal of the immigration court's order of removal and its denial of his application for cancellation of removal, holding that there was no merit to Petitioner's arguments. On appeal, Petitioner argued, among other things, that the notice to appear (NTA) that initiated his removal proceedings was defective because it omitted the date and time of his initial removal hearing, and thus, the immigration court lacked jurisdiction over the proceedings and the removal order was without effect. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) for the same reasons as were explicated in Goncalves Pontes v. Barr, __ F.3d __ (1st Cir. 2019), Petitioner's NTA was effective to commence removal proceedings in the immigration court; and (2) the BIA did not err in rejecting Petitioner's claim for relief from removal premised upon the allegedly ineffective assistance of Petitioner's counsel. View "Ferreira v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision affirming an immigration judge's (IJ) denial of his claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that there was substantial evidence supporting the BIA's affirmance of the IJ's decision. In ordering the removal of Petitioner, a native and citizen of Ecuador, the IJ found that Petitioner was not a credible witness and that Petitioner had not met his burden for any relief. The BIA affirmed. Before the First Circuit, Petitioner argued that the BIA failed to consider all the evidence and erred in determining that he had not meaningfully challenged the adverse credibility finding. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that there was substantial evidence supporting the BIA's affirmance of the IJ's decision. View "Loja-Paguay v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for judicial review of a final order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ordering Petitioner removed to his homeland of Cape Verde and denying his motions to terminate removal proceedings, holding that the BIA's order of removal was in accordance with law. On appeal, Petitioner argued that because the notice to appear (NTA) that initiated the removal proceedings against him did not include the date and time of his contemplated hearing, it was a defective charging instrument and thus ineffectual to commence removal proceedings. Consequently, Petitioner argued, the immigration court did not acquire jurisdiction over his removal proceedings and the agency's final order of removal was a nullity. The First Circuit disagreed, holding (1) Petitioner's NTA complied with the regulations as reasonably interpreted by the BIA, and therefore, the NTA was effective to confer jurisdiction upon the immigration court; (2) Petitioner's motions to terminate his removal proceedings were properly denied; and (3) the BIA's final order of removal was lawful. View "Goncalves Pontes v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner's motion to reopen as untimely, holding that the grounds that the BIA gave for rejecting Petitioner's arguments were not sustainable and thus could not support the BIA's decision to reject Petitioner's motion as untimely. Petitioner, a Guatemalan national who entered the United States without inspection, faced the prospect of removal on the basis of a 2010 BIA decision denying her asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture. Years later, Petitioner filed a motion to reopen and sought to excuse the untimeliness of the motion on the basis of changed country conditions in Guatemala. The BIA denied the motion as untimely. The First Circuit vacated the BIA's decision and remanded, holding that sufficient evidence did not support the BIA's grounds for rejecting Petitioner's changed country arguments, and therefore, the BIA erred in rejecting Petitioner's motion as untimely. View "Perez-Tino v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for judicial review of the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the immigration judge's (IJ) denial of Petitioner's application for refugee status, holding that substantial evidence supported the findings of the immigration court. Petitioner, a native of El Salvador, entered the United States unlawfully. Petitioner sought asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture, asserting that he was abused and threatened as a child by family and purported gang members in El Salvador. The IJ denied Petitioner's application for refugee status and ordered his removal to El Salvador. The BIA dismissed Petitioner's appeal and affirmed the IJ. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that substantial evidence supported the immigration court's findings. View "Miranda-Bojorquez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner for review of a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) order affirming the immigration judge's (IJ) denial of his applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that the BIA did not err in concluding that Petitioner was ineligible for asylum, and Petitioner's remaining claims were likewise unavailing. The IJ concluded that Petitioner was ineligible for asylum because he lacked membership in a cognizable "particular social group." The BIA reached the same conclusion. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the BIA did not err in concluding that Petitioner was ineligible for asylum because he lacked membership in a cognizable "particular social group"; (2) resolution of Petitioner's asylum claim also disposed of Petitioner's withholding of removal claim; and (3) substantial evidence in the record supported the BIA's finding that Petitioner was not entitled to protection under the CAT. View "Ramirez-Perez v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit upheld the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) refusing to reopen Petitioner's removal proceedings, holding that the BIA properly determined that the conditions Petitioner faced in her homeland had not materially changed during the relevant period. Petitioner, a Ugandan national, conceded removability. The immigration judge (IJ) ordered Petitioner removed to Uganda, a final agency order that Petitioner did not appeal. Petitioner subsequently filed a timely motion to reopen her removal proceedings, which the IJ and BIA rejected. Petitioner later filed a second motion to reopen. The BIA denied the motion, determining that it was procedurally barred and that Petitioner failed to establish a material change in Ugandan country conditions. The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for judicial review, holding that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in finding that Petitioner failed to show a material change in country conditions. View "Nantume v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit granted in part and denied in part Petitioner's petition for review of the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming an immigration judge's (IJ) denial of Petitioner's application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that substantial evidence did not support the BIA's decision to deny Petitioner's applications for asylum and withholding of removal. Petitioner, a citizen of Nepal, contested deportation, claiming a fear of persecution for his political beliefs if he repatriated. The IJ denied Petitioner's application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under CAT. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit held (1) the Government did not meet its burden to rebut the presumption of a well-founded fear of persecution, and therefore, Petitioner was statutorily eligible to seek asylum; (2) because the BIA and IJ did not weigh the total corpus of evidence offered in support of the withholding claim, this evidence should be assessed in the first instance by the agency on remand; and (3) substantial evidence supported the BIA's denial of Petitioner's application for protection under CAT. View "Dahal v. Barr" on Justia Law