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

Articles Posted in Immigration Law
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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition to review a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying his requests for asylum and withholding of removal under the Immigration and Naturalization Act and for protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that substantial evidence supported the BIA's decision.Specifically, the First Circuit held (1) Petitioner failed to establish that he had been persecuted or had a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion; and (2) the record did not compel a conclusion that state actors would be complicit in torturing him in the future. View "Celicourt v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of a final order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying his applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that Petitioner's claims were unavailing.After Petitioner was placed in removal proceedings he sought asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the CAT. The immigration judge (IJ) denied relief. The BIA affirmed and, pursuant to the IJ's order, granted Petitioner voluntary departure. The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review, holding (1) Petitioner did not establish that he was eligible for asylum; (2) the resolution of Petitioner's asylum claim also disposed of his withholding of removal claim; and (3) Petitioner's claim related to the denial of his request for CAT protection was waived. View "Zhakira v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of determinations by the immigration judge (IJ) and Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner's request for withholding of removal and voluntary departure, holding that there was no abuse of discretion or error of law.Petitioner was arrested in Connecticut on criminal charges. When served with a notice to appear in immigration court, Petitioner requested withholding of removal and voluntary departure. The IJ ruled against Petitioner, and Petitioner appealed. Before the IJ made its ruling Petitioner's wife filed an I-130 petition on his behalf. While Petitioner's appeal to the BIA was pending, Petitioner's charges in Connecticut were dropped and his I-130 petition was approved. Based on these developments, Petitioner moved to remand his case to the IJ. The BIA denied Petitioner's appeal and his motion to remand. The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review, holding (1) Petitioner's withholding of removal claim failed; (2) the IJ did not err in denying Petitioner's application for voluntary departure; (3) the IJ did not err in denying Petitioner's motion for a continuance; and (4) the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying Petitioner's motion to remand. View "Lee 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 judgment of the immigration judge (IJ) denying Petitioner's applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that Petitioner's claims failed.Petitioner, an Ecuadorian national, conceded removability and applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT protection. The IJ determined that Petitioner had failed to substantiate any of his three claims and denied relief. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that substantial evidence supported the agency's findings. View "Loja-Tene v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Appellant's petition for review of the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissing Appellant's appeal from the decision of the immigration judge (IJ) denying Appellant's application for asylum, withholding of removal (WOR), and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that the conclusions of the IJ and BIA were supported by substantial evidence.Appellant, a Honduran national, filed an application for asylum, WOR, and CAT relief. The IJ denied Appellant's applications and ordered that he be removed to Honduras. The BIA dismissed Appellant's petition for asylum and WOR and denied his application for protection under CAT. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the BIA and IJ's conclusion that Appellant did not show that the government of Honduras was unable or unwilling to protect him was supported by substantial evidence; and (2) Appellant did not establish that it was more likely than not that he would be tortured if removed to Honduras. View "Gomez-Medina v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the preliminary injunction granted to Plaintiffs in this case, holding that the district court abused its discretion in finding that Plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their arguments challenging United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) policy of civilly arresting individuals attending court on official business.In 2018, ICE issued a directive formalizing its policy of arresting allegedly removable noncitizen in and around state courthouses when they appeared for judicial proceedings. Plaintiffs sued ICE, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and three DHS officials (collectively, Defendants), challenging the directive and ICE's policy. The district court determined that Plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their argument that ICE lacked statutory authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1101-1537, to conduct such arrests and preliminarily enjoined ICE from implementing the directive or otherwise civilly arresting individuals attending court on official business anywhere in Massachusetts. The First Circuit vacated the preliminary injunction and remanded the case, holding that Plaintiffs failed to show a likelihood of success on the merits, and the district court's contrary ruling was based on a material error of law. View "Ryan v. U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement" 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) that denied Petitioner's motion to reconsider his motion to reopen removal proceedings, holding that the BIA did not abuse its discretion.Petitioner, a native and citizen of the Dominican Republic, was charged with being removable from the United States. The Immigration Judge (IJ) sustained the charge of removability and denied Petitioner's application for cancellation of removal. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) this Court's precedent forecloses the argument that the IJ lacked jurisdiction to issue the order of removal; (2) the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying Petitioner's motion to reconsider its denial of Petitioner's motion to reopen; and (3) the BIA did not err in finding that Petitioner failed to make the requisite prima facie case. View "Franjul-Soto v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ordering Petitioner's removal, holding that Petitioner's state drug conviction was an "aggravated felony" under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43); 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii).Petitioner, a native and citizen of the Dominican Republic, pled guilty to drug possession with the intent to distribute, in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 94C, 32A(a). The Department of Homeland Security sought to remove him because his drug conviction constituted an aggravated felony under the INA. An immigration judge ruled that Petitioner was removable. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that because the mens rea to convict an accomplice under section 32A(a) is no broader than under the Controlled Substances Act, Petitioner's state drug conviction amounted to illicit trafficking in a controlled substance and thus an aggravated felony under the INA. View "Soto-Vittini v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner's request for temporary protected status (TPS) under 8 U.S.C. 1254a, holding that the BIA did not err in finding that Petitioner's ninety-eight-day absence from the country was not "brief, casual, and innocent" under the regulations.Petitioner entered the United States on December 27, 1997. Since then, Petitioner spent ninety-eight days outside the United States pursuant to an order of removal. In his TPS request, Petitioner argued that he could excuse the ninety-eight days at issue as "brief, casual, and innocent" under 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(4)(A)-(B) because an immigration judge later rescinded his order of removal. The BIA denied Petitioner's request, determining that the rescission of removal order was improper. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the BIA correctly found that the immigration judge's rescission order was not proper, and therefore, Petitioner's absence from the country was not brief, casual, and innocent. View "Machado Sigaran v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' (BIA) decision to deny his application for deferral of removal under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that Petitioner was not eligible for deferral of removal under the CAT.Petitioner, who was born in Venezuela, was convicted of heroin trafficking in the United States. Petitioner was subsequently served with a notice informing him that he was removable as an alien convicted of an aggravated felony. Petitioner requested withholding of removal under CAT protection, stating that if he returned to Venezuela he feared retaliation by drug traffickers, as well as persecution, torture, and death because of his earlier membership in a Venezuelan opposition political party. An immigration judge (IJ) denied Petitioner's application, and the BIA dismissed Petitioner's appeal. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the record did not compel the conclusion that Petitioner demonstrated eligibility for deferral of removal under the CAT. View "Sanabria Morales v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law