Articles Posted in Immigration Law

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Neither the Due Process Clause nor the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq., creates a categorical right to court-appointed counsel at government expense for alien minors. The Ninth Circuit held that, to the extent the IJ failed to provide all the trappings of a full and fair hearing in this case, any shortcomings did not prejudice the outcome because the IJ adequately developed the record on issues that were dispositive to petitioner's claims for relief. The panel also held that the IJ was not required to advise petitioner of a separate state court process that could ultimately form the predicate for petitioner's application for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status with the IJ. Finally, the panel declined to reversed the Board's denial of petitioner's asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT claims, because substantial evidence supported the BIA's determination that petitioner was ineligible for relief. View "C.J.L.G. v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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A California conviction for carjacking under Penal Code section 215(a) does not qualify as a crime of violence. The Ninth Circuit granted the petition for review of a final order of removal. The panel held that Nieves-Medrano v. Holder, 590 F.3d 1057 (9th Cir. 2010), which held that a conviction for carjacking under section 215 is categorically a crime of violence under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(F), cannot stand in light of Johnson v. United States, 559 U.S. 133, 140 (2010), which held that the physical force that a crime of violence entails must be violent force. Because section 215 did not require the use of violent force that Johnson required, the California statute was not a crime of violence. The panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Solorio-Ruiz v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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There is no reason to conclusively presume prejudice when an individual was denied the right to counsel during his initial interaction with DHS officers, provided the individual was able to consult with counsel before the removal order is executed. The Ninth Circuit denied petitions for review of DHS's final administrative order of removal under 8 U.S.C. 1228(b). Assuming that a due process violation occurred when petitioner did not have counsel present at the outset of the removal process, the panel held that petitioner must show that he was prejudiced by the violation. In this case, petitioner failed to show that denial of the right to counsel during his initial interaction with DHS officers prejudiced him. In this case, petitioner has never attempted to contest the charges against him, even after having an opportunity to consult with counsel, so he could not contend that his un-counseled admissions cost him the chance to raise plausible grounds for contesting removal. Nor could he claim prejudice by virtue of his un-counseled waiver of the right to request withholding of removal. View "Gomez-Velazco v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal for lack of jurisdiction of plaintiff's action challenging DHS's denial of I-130 visa petitions. Plaintiff filed petitions seeking Legal Permanent Residence (LPR) status for his non-citizen wife and her three non-citizen children. DHS denied the petitions pursuant to the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 because defendant had been convicted of committing a lewd and lascivious act with a child under the age of fourteen. Because the Adam Walsh Act clearly delineates who may have a petition granted—rather than who may literally file a petition—the panel held that the amended statute applied to petitions that were filed before, but were still pending on, its effective date. Therefore, USCIS correctly applied the Adam Walsh Act in plaintiff's case. The panel also held that applying the Adam Walsh Act to pending petitions did not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause; the panel lacked jurisdiction to review plaintiff's statutory claims concerning the "no risk" determination; and plaintiff's constitutional claims were not colorable. View "Gebhardt v. Nielsen" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's decision concluding that petitioner was not removable for a controlled substance offense under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(B)(i). The panel held that the state crimes underlying his removal, Nevada Revised Statutes 199.480 and 454.351, were not a categorical match to the federal generic statutes because they were overbroad and indivisible. Accordingly, the statute may not be used as a predicate offense to support removal. View "Villavicencio v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's decision dismissing his appeal challenging the IJ's competence determination. The panel held that the BIA in two related ways abused its discretion in affirming the IJ’s competence evaluation and determination. First, the BIA affirmed the IJ's inaccurate factual finding about the mental health evidence in the record and failed to recognize that the medical record upon which the BIA and the IJ heavily relied was nearly a year old and may no longer reflect petitioner's mental state. Second, the BIA abused its discretion by affirming the IJ's departure from the standards set forth in Matter of M-A-M-, 25 I&N Dec. at 480–81. In this case, the IJ did not adequately ensure that DHS complied with its obligation to provide the court with relevant materials in its possession that would inform the court about petitioner's mental competency. The panel remanded with instructions. View "Calderon-Rodriguez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed defendants' misdemeanor convictions under 8 U.S.C. 1325(a)(1) for attempting to enter the United States "at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers." The panel held that a place "designated by immigration officers" refers to a specific immigration facility, not an entire geographic area. In this case, there was no dispute that defendants did not enter the United States through a facility where immigration officials could accept applications for entry. Therefore, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, a rational trier of fact could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that defendants attempted to enter the United States in a place other than as designated by immigration officers. View "United States v. Aldana" on Justia Law

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President Trump's issuance of Proclamation 9645 entitled "Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public Safety Threats" violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and exceeded the scope of his delegated authority. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order enjoining enforcement of the Proclamation's section 2(a), (b), (c), (e), (g), and (h), holding that the Government's interpretation of 8 U.S.C. 1182(f) not only upended the carefully crafted immigration scheme Congress has embodied in the INA, but it deviated from the text of the statute, legislative history, and prior executive practice as well; the President did not satisfy the critical prerequisite Congress attached to his suspension authority: Before blocking entry, he must first make a legally sufficient finding that the entry of the specified individuals would be detrimental to the interests of the United States; the Proclamation conflicted with the INA's prohibition on nationality-based discrimination in the issuance of immigrant visas; and the President was without a separate source of constitutional authority to issue the Proclamation. However, the panel limited the scope of the preliminary injunction to foreign nationals who have a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. View "Hawaii v. Trump" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's preliminary injunction in an action brought by civil detainees confined in U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities within the Tucson Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol. The detainees alleged that they were subjected to inhumane and punitive treatment. The panel held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting a preliminary injunction requiring that defendants provide detainees with mats and blankets after 12 hours, and properly applied precedent such that neither side has shown that the limited preliminary injunction was illogical, implausible, or without support in the record. In this case, the district court properly read and applied Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520 (1979). The panel also held that plaintiffs have not shown that the district court abused its discretion in issuing only a limited preliminary injunction. View "Doe v. Kelly" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's denial of asylum to petitioner, a citizen of China, who sought relief based on his political opinion. The panel held that the evidence before the IJ and BIA compelled the conclusion, at the very least, that Chinese authorities persecuted petitioner because of an anti-eminent domain political opinion they imputed to him. Accordingly, the panel vacated the denial of asylum and remanded to the Attorney General to exercise his discretion whether to grant asylum. View "Song v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law