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

Articles 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

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The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court's judgment in an action seeking a declaratory judgment that DHS had improperly denied plaintiff's application to adjust his status to that of a legal permanent resident. Although the court had jurisdiction in this case, it held that plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. In this case, plaintiff overstayed his nonimmigrant visitor visa, accruing time as an alien in unlawful status. Therefore, that period made him ineligible for an adjustment of status. The court entered judgment that the complaint be dismissed with prejudice. View "Melendez v. McAleenan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for attorneys' fees and expenses under the Equal Access to Justice Act. In this case, the court granted the government's motion to remand to allow the BIA to consider the issues raised in petitioners' opening brief. The court held that attorneys' fees were unwarranted because the government was the prevailing party on the bulk of petitioner's claims and was substantially justified in denying protection under the Convention Against Torture. View "W. M. V. C. v. Barr" on Justia Law

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8 U.S.C. 1503(a)'s reference to "the final administrative denial" means the first final administrative denial. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's challenge to the USCIS's denial of a certificate of citizenship, holding that the claim was time-barred. In this case, the USCIS first denied plaintiff a certificate of citizenship in 2008 and then again in 2016, but plaintiff only challenged the agency's 2016 denial. The court affirmed and held that, while the text was silent regarding duplicative denials, in defining a limitations period, Congress expressed its interest in finality. The court explained that implicitly authorizing a series of duplicative claims would frustrate that interest. View "Gonzalez v. Limon" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the United States in an action brought by a foreign national from Honduras under the Federal Tort Claims Act, alleging that he was falsely imprisoned by federal immigration authorities. The court held that 8 U.S.C. 1252(g) and 1226(e) did not preclude the district court from having jurisdiction over this case. On the merits, the court held that the district court correctly determined that Border Patrol and ICE agents acted with authority of law to arrest and detain plaintiff. In this case, plaintiff illegally entered the United States and Border patrol agents lawfully apprehended him at that time. View "Hernandez Najera v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for review of petitioner's denial of asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Petitioner alleged membership in three possible groups stemming from his work as a law enforcement official. The court held that substantial evidence supported the BIA's conclusion that petitioner did not show the alleged persecution was on account of a protected ground and he was therefore not entitled to asylum or withholding of removal. In this case, even if petitioner's social groups were cognizable, he failed to show a nexus between the alleged persecution and his membership in the groups. Furthermore, the record evidence did not compel the conclusion that petitioner was eligible for CAT relief. View "Martinez Manzanares v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law