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

Articles Posted in Immigration Law
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Plaintiffs filed suit challenging USCIS's denial of their application to adjust their immigration status to lawful permanent residents under the diversity visa program. The district court dismissed the case with prejudice pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court's judgment and dismissed the case, holding that the case was moot prior to the entry of the district court's final judgment. The court joined its sister circuits in concluding that a claim challenging the denial of a diversity visa status adjustment application becomes moot after the relevant fiscal year expires. In this case, plaintiffs' claim was moot at the time they filed their initial complaint. View "Ermuraki v. Renaud" on Justia Law

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An alien who entered the United States without being "inspected and admitted or paroled" may not have his status adjusted to lawful permanent resident by virtue of obtaining Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Petitioner, a native of Honduras, challenged the USCIS's denial of his application to obtain lawful-permanent-resident status in district court. The government moved to dismiss, but the district court denied the motion and remanded to the agency. The government appealed.The Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded, holding that the district court incorrectly interpreted and applied the relevant immigration statutes. The court held that the text of the relevant statutory provisions confirms that TPS does not cure the bar to status adjustment in 8 U.S.C. 1255. The court rejected petitioner's and amici's contention that because a TPS recipient is considered as "being in, and maintaining, lawful status as a nonimmigrant," section 1255(a)'s requirement that an alien be inspected and admitted is satisfied. The court concluded that this contention failed because granting TPS does not constitute an admission under section 1255(a); granting TPS does not constitute a waiver of the admission requirement in section 1255; and being "admissible" under section 1254a does not create an alternative method for satisfying the requirement that one be admitted under section 1255. In this case, the court concluded that TPS does not excuse petitioner from the requirement of being inspected and admitted into the United States. The court explained that, because petitioner was never lawfully admitted, he cannot now seek to adjust his status under section 1255(a). View "Rodriguez Solorzano v. Mayorkas" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law
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Petitioner, a native and citizen of Tanzania, petitions for review of an order issued by the BIA dismissing his appeal from the IJ's decision denying his application for withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Petitioner separately seeks review of the BIA's order denying his motion to reopen and denying his request for review of that motion by a three-member panel.The Fifth Circuit denied in part the petitions for review and concluded that it did not have jurisdiction to review factual challenges to the removal order; substantial evidence supports the conclusion of the IJ and BIA that petitioner failed to meet his burden of proof for CAT relief; and the BIA did not abuse its discretion in finding that petitioner did not present newly discovered evidence to corroborate his claim for CAT relief. The court dismissed the petition for review of the unexhausted claims, and dismissed for lack of jurisdiction the petition for review of the BIA's non-referral of petitioner's motion to a three-member panel. View "Tibakweitira v. Wilkinson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law
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The Fifth Circuit dismissed the petition for review, holding that the use of an unauthorized social security number, in violation of 42 U.S.C. 408(a)(7)(B), constitutes a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) such that petitioner is ineligible for cancellation of his removal to Mexico.Reviewing de novo, the court explained that, under Fifth Circuit precedent, a section 408(a)(7)(B) offense categorically constitutes a CIMT because it necessarily involves intentional deception. The court concluded that the offender's deceptive intent is dispositive. Even assuming arguendo that the conviction requires a further aggravating element beyond deceptive intent, the court was satisfied that such an element is present where a conviction under section 408(a)(7)(B) necessarily involves conduct that obstructs the function of government. Therefore, petitioner's application for cancellation of removal is pretermitted. View "Munoz-Rivera v. Wilkinson" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a former alien detainee, filed suit alleging that CoreCivic's work programs are not voluntary. Plaintiff claimed that CoreCivic forced her to clean detention facilities, cook meals for company events, engage in clerical work, provide barber services for fellow detainees, maintain landscaping, and other labors. Furthermore, if she refused, CoreCivic would impose more severe living conditions, physical restraints, and deprivation of basic human needs.The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of CoreCivic's motion to dismiss under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), 18 U.S.C. 1589(a). The court concluded that sections 1589(a) and 1595 impose civil liability on "[w]hoever knowingly provides or obtains the labor or services of a person by any one of, or by any combination of" four coercive methods. The court rejected CoreCivic's contention that this language does not capture labor performed in work programs in a federal immigration detention setting. The court explained that nothing in the text supports this claim; CoreCivic is clearly an entity covered by the term "whoever;" and it has clearly "obtain[ed]" the labor of these alien detainees. The court rejected CoreCivic's remaining claims to the contrary and declined to apply the rule of lenity. Because on its face section 1589 unambiguously protects labor performed in work programs in federal immigration detention facilities, the court concluded that the "judicial inquiry is complete." View "Gonzalez v. CoreCivic, Inc." on Justia Law

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On remand from the Supreme Court, the Fifth Circuit denied the petition for review challenging the BIA's denial of equitable tolling to petitioner's motion to reopen in light of Lugo-Resendez v. Lynch, 831 F.3d 337 (5th Cir. 2016). A panel of this court dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction, but the Supreme Court reversed and remanded.The Board had concluded that petitioner did not demonstrate due diligence because he waited approximately eight months after the Fifth Circuit decided Lugo-Resendez to file his current motion. Now considering the merits, the Fifth Circuit explained that the Board's conclusion applies with even grater force in light of the conclusion in Londono-Gonzalez v. Barr, 978 F.3d 965, 968 (5th Cir. 2020), that Lugo-Resendez did not constitute an extraordinary circumstance that stood in the way of aliens seeking equitable tolling. Furthermore, petitioner presented no viable alternative from which he can show compliance with the 90-day filing deadline even with the benefit of equitable tolling. View "Ovalles v. Rosen" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law
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The Fifth Circuit dismissed as moot a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming petitioner's motions for continuance pending resolution of his T visa application, withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture, as well as the BIA's dismissal of his appeal. After the BIA's decision, petitioner's T visa application was denied and he was removed to Mexico. The court dismissed the petition as moot because the court can no longer grant petitioner any effectual relief. The court reasoned that, even if it decided that the BIA erred in denying petitioner withholding of removal, he would still be subject to the February 2012 removal order and thus inadmissible to the United States. Furthermore, in his supplemental letter, petitioner identifies no collateral legal consequence from the denial of withholding. View "Mendoza-Flores v. Rosen" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law
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Plaintiff, a federal prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a mandamus action in the district court, seeking an order to compel USCIS officials to travel to federal prison in order to administer the oath of citizenship to him. Plaintiff alleged that USCIS unlawfully withheld or unreasonably delayed the administration of his oath under section 706(1) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claim under 28 U.S.C. 1915A(b)(1) for failure to state a claim for relief and denial of his subsequent motion for reconsideration. Contrary to defendant's contention, the district court did consider defendant's APA claim before dismissing it. The district court dismissed after determining that his section 706(1) claim could not proceed. The court explained that when plaintiff appears before USCIS officials, they must administer the oath to him. But the manner in which USCIS administers the oath, including where within the United States that administration occurs, is left to the agency's discretion. In this case, plaintiff cannot show a clear right to relief and thus he is not entitled to a writ of mandamus. Finally, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff leave to amend the complaint. View "Mendoza-Tarango v. Flores" on Justia Law

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Petitioners appealed the dismissal of their petitions for habeas corpus. Petitioners claimed that their due process rights had been violated by failure to honor the parole notice, that federal statutes and regulations created a right to parole based on the parole notices they had received, that the parole notices should be honored under customary international law, and that a legitimate expectation of parole had been created. Within two weeks after the petition was filed, ICE released petitioners from custody but not on parole. The district court determined that petitioners' release from detention rendered the habeas petition moot, and ordered that the government provide petitioners or their attorneys with written notice that their parole had been terminated. The district court subsequently dismissed the habeas petition.The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal and rejected petitioners' argument that their inability to seek work authorization is a collateral consequence that should allow them to maintain their petition. The court was not convinced that aliens who are released from ICE custody can maintain a habeas petition by showing collateral consequences. Furthermore, even if they could demonstrate collateral consequences, they have not done so here because any work authorization is subject to USCIS discretion. View "Bacilio-Sabastian v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law
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The Fifth Circuit denied the petition for review of the BIA's adverse credibility determination, decision to deny withholding of removal relief, denial of petitioner's claim under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), and denial of petitioner's motion to remand for reconsideration.The court held that substantial evidence supported the agency's adverse credibility determination where the IJ identified numerous omissions and inconsistencies, several of which petitioner does not dispute occurred. In regard to withholding removal, at bottom, the court agreed with the Board's conclusion that petitioner's first proposed social group—Honduran women who have been targeted for and resisted gang recruitment after the murder of a gang-associated partner—is not cognizable. The court also agreed with the Board that petitioner failed to show her membership in her second proposed social group: Honduran women in domestic relationships who are unable to leave or are viewed as property by virtue of their position in a domestic relationship. In regard to petitioner's CAT claim, the court rejected petitioner's claim that the Board erred by failing to meaningfully consider all the evidence submitted and found the Board's conclusion that petitioner did not prove requisite state action is supported by substantial evidence. Finally, the Board did not engage in impermissible factfinding and the Board did not abuse its discretion in not remanding the case for consideration of new evidence. View "Suate-Orellana v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law