Justia U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Immigration Law

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The Fifth Circuit held that petitioner's prior Texas conviction for possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver was a violation of a state law "relating to a controlled substance" as defined in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Therefore, the court held that petitioner failed to show that the BIA erred in finding that his Texas drug delivery conviction rendered him removable. The court also held that it lacked jurisdiction to review the BIA's discretionary decision to deny cancellation of removal. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's finding of removability and discretionary denial of petitioner's application for cancellation of removal. View "Padilla v. Bar" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for review of the the BIA's decision denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration after she was denied asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court held that substantial evidence supported the BIA's finding that petitioner failed to show that she was harmed on account of her membership in a particular social group—i.e., that her ex-boyfriend harmed her for being a Honduran woman unable to leave her relationship. The court also held that substantial evidence supported the IJ's finding that the Honduran police did not and would not acquiesce to petitioner's alleged torture by her ex-boyfriend. In regard to the motion for reconsideration, the court held that it had jurisdiction to entertain petitioner's argument concerning Matter of A-B-, 27 I. & N. Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018), which held that married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship did not constitute a particular social group and clarifying other points of law pertaining to asylum and withholding of removal claims. The court also held that the Grace injunction did not affect the court's ability to review A-B-, nor could it, because it did not bind courts in this circuit; the BIA correctly interpreted A-B-; A-B- was not arbitrary and capricious; and remand to the IJ was not warranted. View "Gonzales-Veliz v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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Upon sua sponte rehearing, the Fifth Circuit withdrew its prior opinion and substituted the following opinion. The court granted the petition for review and held that petitioner failed to exhaust his challenge to the immigration court’s jurisdiction based on alleged defects in his Notice to Appear. The court also held that the Oklahoma misdemeanor of transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle is not one of the firearms offenses listed under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(C). Therefore, the court concluded that this conviction did not disqualify petitioner from seeking cancellation of removal. Accordingly, the court vacated the BIA's order and remanded for further proceedings. View "Flores-Abarca v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's complaint, seeking a declaration of citizenship under 8 U.S.C. 1503(a). The court held that the district court did not clearly err in denying jurisdiction over the section 1503(a) claim in light of the deficient record developed by plaintiff and the court's deferential standard of review. The court also held that section 1503(a) was an adequate alternative remedy for plaintiff's injury, and that the district court was therefore correct that it lacked jurisdiction over his claim under the Administrative Procedure Act. View "Flores v. Pompeo" on Justia Law

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Petitioner appealed the denial of his application for asylum and withholding of removal. The Fifth Circuit held, in light of Matter of L-E-A-, -- which stands for the proposition that families may qualify as social groups, but the decision must be reached on a case-by-case basis -- that the BIA failed to rely on the factual findings of the IJ, which were likely impacted by the incorrect legal posture through which the IJ viewed the case. Considering the error, and in order that the IJ and the BIA may have the benefit of the increased clarity provided by Matter of L-E-A-, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Pena Oseguera v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Fifth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's decision holding petitioner statutorily ineligible for cancellation of removal based on a prior 2004 firearm transportation conviction. The court held that petitioner failed to exhaust his challenge to the immigration court's jurisdiction based on alleged defects in his Notice to Appear. However, on the merits, the court held that the Oklahoma misdemeanor of transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle is not one of the firearms offenses listed under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(C). Therefore, petitioner's conviction did not disqualify him from seeking cancellation of removal. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Flores-Abarca v. Barr" on Justia Law

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After the district court dismissed defendant's indictment for illegal reentry following removal because an IJ in the underlying removal lacked jurisdiction, the Fifth Circuit issued an opinion in an analogous immigration appeal, Pierre-Paul v. Barr, ---F.3d---, 2019 WL 3229150 (5th Cir. July 18, 2019), that foreclosed defendant's arguments that were adopted by the district court. Determining that the case was not moot, the court held that the district court erred in concluding that the lack of a date and time on petitioner's 2003 notice to appear deprived the IJ of jurisdiction in the 2003 removal proceeding. Under Pierre-Paul's three alternative holdings, the district court's ruling was untenable, and thus the IJ did not lack jurisdiction as a result of the government's failure to include a date and time on the notice to appear. The court also held that the district court should have denied the motion to dismiss the indictment because 8 U.S.C. 1326(d) barred petitioner's collateral attack on the validity of his removal order. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Pedroza-Rocha" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Fifth Circuit withdrew its prior opinion and substituted the following opinion. The court held that 8 U.S.C. 1229(a)(1)(F)(i)—like its predecessor, 8 U.S.C. 1252b(a)(1)(F)(i)—requires an alien who is physically in the United States and subject to removal from the United States to provide a United States address to receive notice by mail. The court denied a petition for review of the BIA's dismissal of petitioner's appeal of the denial of her motion to reopen. The court held that petitioner was not entitled to reopen the in abstentia removal order under section 1229(a)(1)(F)(i) and the BIA properly rejected the argument that a Guatemalan address was sufficient under these circumstances. Assuming arguendo that an alien may satisfy her obligation to provide an address under section 1229(a)(1)(F)(i) by providing a foreign address, petitioner would still not prevail. Finally, petitioner was not denied due process and the government's warnings were sufficient to apprise petitioner that she needed to provide a full United States address to receive notices of hearing. View "Luna-Garcia v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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Petitioner sought review of the BIA's denial of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and cancellation of removal. Petitioner also claimed that the IJ violated his due process rights. The Fifth Circuit denied the petition in part, holding that petitioner's notice to appear, which lacked the time and date of his proceeding, was not defective. Assuming arguendo that the notice to appear was defective, the IJ cured the defect by subsequently sending a notice of hearing that included the time and date of the hearing. Furthermore, assuming arguendo that the notice to appear was defective and the defect could not be cured, 8 C.F.R. 1003.14 was not jurisdictional. Rather, section 1003.14 was a claim-processing rule and petitioner failed to raise the issue in a timely manner. The court dismissed the petition in part, holding that it lacked jurisdiction to review the denial of asylum, withholding of removal, and cancellation of removal. View "Pierre-Paul v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's denial of petitioner's application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court held that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying petitioner's motion to reconsider because supporting authority was wholly absent from his motion — other than the regulatory standard of review for questions of law. The court also held that substantial evidence supported the BIA' finding that petitioner did not suffer past persecution by gang threats to his family where his entire family still lived in El Salvador and have experienced no problems with the gang. Substantial evidence also supported the BIA's finding that petitioner lacked a well-founded fear of future persecution where, combined with his family's continued safety, petitioner admitted that he never attempted to relocate within his home country. View "Cruz v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law