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

Articles Posted in Immigration Law
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The Fifth Circuit denied petitions for review challenging the BIA's decision denying petitioner relief from an order of removal in absentia. The court agreed with the BIA that petitioner's ten year delay in filing his motion to reopen was inexcusable. In this case, when petitioner discovered that he had been ordered removed in absentia, he could have immediately applied to reopen his proceedings. However, petitioner did not and lost his chance to have his case administratively closed. Furthermore, when petitioner moved to reopen, he could have raised all his arguments in the first motion. Petitioner failed to do so and thus he lost his chance to have half of his arguments decided on the merits. View "Mejia 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 denying petitioner's motion to reopen her removal proceedings. The court held that the information statutorily required to be contained in a notice to appear (NTA) may be supplied in more than one document. The court also held that an NTA is perfected, and the stop-time rule is triggered, when the alien receives all required information, whether in one document or more. The court held that the BIA did not abuse its discretion by failing to reopen petitioner's removal proceedings to allow her to seek cancellation of removal or to rescind the in absentia order of removal. In this case, the document petitioner received perfected her initial NTA by providing proper notice of her removal hearing and terminated her "continued presence" in the United States pursuant to the stop-time rule, precluding her eligibility for cancellation of removal. View "Yanez-Pena 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 upholding the IJ's denial of petitioner's asylum application. The BIA concluded that petitioner's status as a legal permanent resident (LPR) ended his status as an asylee. Petitioner argued that, at the time of his drug convictions, he was both an LPR and an asylee. The court held that petitioner's voluntary and successful adjustment to LPR status ended his status as an asylee. In this case, upon successfully adjusting to LPR status, petitioner lost asylee status and thus to avoid removal, he needed to reapply for asylum before a second IJ. The court also held that the first IJ's decision lacked preclusive effect because the REAL ID Act changed the law. View "Ali v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law
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The Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded the district court's dismissal of a 2018 indictment charging defendant with illegal reentry in violation of 8 U.S.C. 1326. The court agreed with the government's contention that the district court erred in sustaining defendant's collateral attack on his underlying 2013 deportation order and dismissing the 2018 illegal-reentry indictment. In this case, the district court found that the IJ and the BIA erroneously classified bail jumping as an aggravated felony and the error led the IJ not to consider defendant's claims for asylum and withholding of removal. The court disagreed with the district court for two reasons: first, the district court diluted the actual prejudice standard; and second, applying the correct actual-prejudice standard, the record foreclosed any notion that defendant likely would have escaped deportation either through asylum or withholding of removal. The court saw nothing in the record indicating that defendant was likely eligible for asylum or withholding of removal. Therefore, even assuming the IJ and BIA erred in classifying defendant's bail jumping conviction as an aggravated felony, defendant still could not show actual prejudice under section 1326(d). View "United States v. Ramirez-Cortinas" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the denial of petitioner and her son's requests for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). As a preliminary matter, the court held that the notices petitioner and her son received satisfied the relevant regulations and the IJ had jurisdiction over her case. The court held that the evidence did not compel a finding in petitioner's favor on either her asylum or withholding of removal requests. Assuming validity of her membership in a particular social group and her political belief in the rule of law, the court held that substantial evidence supported the IJ's finding that petitioner failed to show a connection between them and any persecution she has faced or will face. Furthermore, substantial evidence supported the IJ's denial of protection under the CAT, because petitioner failed to show that it was more likely than not that she would be tortured if she returned to Honduras, and failed to point to evidence establishing that Honduran authorities would acquiesce to the torture of her and her son. View "Martinez-Lopez v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law
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After petitioner was ordered removed by DHS because he violated the terms of his admission under the Visa Waiver Program, he filed a motion to reopen. An ICE Deputy Field Officer Director denied petitioner's motion and petitioner appealed. The Fifth Circuit dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction because it called for judicial review of a denial of a motion that petitioner was not entitled to file. The court held that, as a Visa Waiver Program participant, petitioner was limited to contesting his removal on the basis of an application for asylum and he has conceded that he was not seeking asylum. Therefore, the statute on its face barred petitioner from challenging his deprivation of a hearing by means of a motion to reopen. Furthermore, petitioner's reliance on the carve-out in 8 U.S.C. 1231(a)(5) was unavailing. View "Lavery v. Barr" on Justia Law

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