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

Articles Posted in Immigration Law
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The First Circuit granted Petitioner's petition asking the Court to review an order from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying her motion to reopen removal proceedings, holding that the Court lacked jurisdiction to review one of Petitioner's claims but, with respect to her latter three claims, it was appropriate to grant the petition and remand to the BIA for further proceedings. Petitioner, a native and citizen of Ghana, petitioned the BIA to reopen removal proceedings so that she could apply for cancellation of removal under the "special rule" for battered spouses and children, asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. Before the First Circuit, Petitioner argued that the BIA erred in denying the motion on each of those grounds. The First Circuit held (1) this Court is without jurisdiction to review the BIA's denial of "special rule" cancellation; and (2) this case must be remanded to the BIA for further examination and explication of its decision ruling against Petitioner on her remaining claims. View "Twum v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit reversed the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner's motion to reopen his removal proceedings, holding that Petitioner showed at least a reasonable chance that he will face future persecution based on his political opinion, and therefore, reversal was warranted. After Petitioner, a Venezuelan native and citizen, overstayed his visa U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement commenced removal proceedings against him. An immigration judge (IJ) found Petitioner ineligible for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. The BIA and First Circuit affirmed. Seven years later, Petitioner submitted a motion to reopen his removal proceedings, arguing that conditions had materially worsened for political dissidents in Venezuela since the denial of his applications and claiming prima facie eligibility for asylum and withholding of removal relief. The BIA denied the motion, concluding that Petitioner failed to establish a material change in country conditions and rejecting Petitioner's evidence of a well-founded fear of future persecution. The First Circuit reversed, holding (1) the BIA's conclusion that country conditions in Venezuela had not worsened was arbitrary; and (2) the BIA improperly concluded that Petitioner's evidence could not establish prima facie eligibility for asylum and withholding of removal. View "Cabas 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) vacating the decision of the immigration judge (IJ) granting Appellant's application for asylum and ordering her removal, holding that the that BIA's finding that Appellant failed to establish that she suffered persecution or that she was a member of her particular social group was supported by reasonable, substantial evidence. After Appellant, a native of El Salvador, entered the United States without inspection with her two sons, Appellant sought asylum, with her sons as derivative beneficiaries, arguing that the children's father threatened her on numerous occasions. Appellant never lived with the father. In her application, Appellant argued that she had been persecuted because of her membership in the social group of "women in El Salvador unable to leave a domestic relationship." The BIA found that Appellant's harm did not rise to the level of persecution required to grant asylum and that Appellant's relationship with her ex-partner was not a "domestic" relationship. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the BIA's findings were supported by substantial evidence. View "Rivas-Duran v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit dismissed for lack of jurisdiction Petitioner's petition for review of the denial of his application for cancellation of removal, holding that Petitioner's arguments failed to make out any colorable legal claim. Petitioner, a citizen of Mexico who entered the United States without admission of parole, filed this petition for review the BIA's decision adopting and affirming the IJ's denial of Petitioner's application for cancellation of removal. Petitioner's sole legal claim was that the BIA erred in adopting and affirming the IJ's decision because the IJ relied "almost exclusively on hearsay police reports in determining that Petitioner did not warrant a favorable exercise of discretion." The First Circuit dismissed the petition, holding that Petitioner failed to raise a colorable claim under established precedent. View "Perez v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law
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The Supreme Court dismissed in part and denied in part Petitioner's petition for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which upheld the immigration judge's (IJ) denial of Petitioner's applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that the BIA's decision must stand. Specifically, the Court held (1) because Petitioner filed an untimely application for asylum, this Court did not have jurisdiction to review Petitioner's petition for review of the BIA's ruling on Petitioner's asylum claim; (2) Petitioner waived his challenge to the BIA's ruling affirming the IJ's denial of Petitioner's request for withholding of removal; and (3) Petitioner provided no basis for overturning the BIA's ruling on his CAT claim. View "Rodriguez-Palacios v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit dismissed Petitioner's petition for judicial review of a Board of Immigration Appeals' (BIA) decision adopting and affirming an immigration judge's (IJ) denial of Petitioner's request for withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1231(b)(3), holding that the Court lacked jurisdiction to consider Petitioner's challenge to the denial of withholding of removal. Specifically, the Court held that it lacked jurisdiction over Petitioner's arguments because (1) Petitioner's first argument was nothing more than a challenge to the BIA's determination that he did not present sufficient evidence to meet his burden for withholding of removal, which the Court lacked jurisdiction to review; and (2) Petitioner failed to exhaust his particular social group argument. View "Fabian-Soriano v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of an administrative order of removal, holding that Petitioner's arguments challenges to the removal order were unavailing. Petitioner was an Irish citizen who entered the United States as a child and had been living here for more than seven years when he was apprehended by immigration officials. The government charged him with having been admitted to the United States via the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and having stayed here beyond the ninety-day period permitted by the visa that he secured through the VWP. The government then issued a final order of removal. The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review, holding (1) the government presented sufficient evidence of Petitioner's removability; and (2) Petitioner's procedural due process challenge to the removal order failed. View "O'Riordan v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of the denial of his motion to reopen his 2012 order of removal, holding that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) did not err in denying the petition. In his motion to reopen his order of removal Petitioner, a Guatemalan citizen, asserted that his prior counsel provided ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to file a brief with the Supreme Court in his petition for review of the BIA's denial of his previous challenge to that removal order. The BIA denied the petition, concluding that Petitioner had failed to establish either the requisite due diligence to excuse his failure to comply with the filing deadline for motions to reopen or a "likelihood of success" regarding his ineffective assistance of counsel claim. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Petitioner failed to identify anything in the record that could compel the conclusion that he had shown the requisite prejudice from the alleged ineffective assistance of counsel, on which he based his motion to reopen. View "Franco-Ardon v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of Defendant's motion to dismiss and motion to suppress, which Defendant filed before he was convicted of legal reentry after removal from the United States, holding that the district court did not err in not dismissing Defendant's indictment for delay in presentment or in not suppressing information that law enforcement had gathered about Defendant, including his identity. Defendant was a passenger in a van that was stopped for seatbelt violations. A Maine State Trooper who conducted the stop contacted an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer for help identifying the passengers, several of whom did not appear to speak English. When he was asked for his identification, Defendant produced a consular ID card. ICE officers ran the card through ICE databases and determined that Defendant was suspected of illegal reentry. Defendant was subsequently convicted of illegally entering the United States after removal. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) because Defendant made his initial appearance just as the criminal process was initiated, there was no unnecessary delay before his initial appearance and so no violation of Fed. R. Crim. P. 5(a); and (2) the district court properly denied Defendant's motion to suppress. View "United States v. Garcia-Zavala" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition seeking review of an order by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying her motion to reopen removal proceedings based on changed country conditions within Kenya, holding that the BIA did not abuse its discretion. In 2013, Petitioner was first ordered removed to Kenya. In 2016, Petitioner sought to reopen proceedings, arguing that conditions within Kenya had changed since her prior removal proceedings and now supported a claim for asylum. An immigration judge (IJ) denied the motion. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that there was no abuse of discretion in the agency’s finding that Petitioner failed to establish changed country conditions. View "Wanjiku v. Barr" on Justia Law