Articles Posted in Immigration Law

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The Ninth Circuit adopted the persuasive reasoning of the Second Circuit and held that the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UN-CATOC) does not provide an independent basis for relief from removal in immigration proceedings. In this case, the panel denied the petition for review of the BIA's denial of withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The panel held that the BIA did not err in concluding that petitioner was not persecuted on account of his political opinion, whistleblower status, nor his membership in a particular social group of former police officers. Rather, petitioner's attackers told him that he was being attacked because of his role in a drug-trafficking investigation. The panel also held that, because the UN-CATOC has not been implemented through congressional legislation and was not self-executing as to the relief sought here, petitioner may not rely on its provisions for relief from removal. View "Sanjaa v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Ninth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's dismissal for lack of jurisdiction an appeal of an IJ's negative reasonable fear determination in reinstatement removal proceedings. The panel found that the final administrative order was the BIA's dismissal of petitioner's appeal and thus petitioner timely filed his petition for review within 30 day's of the BIA's decision. The panel also held that the government waived any challenge to the arguments raised by petitioner because the government did not offer any argument on the merits of this petition. Accordingly, the court remanded for further consideration. View "Valencia Martinez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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Descamps v. United States, 133 S. Ct. 2276 (2013), and Mathis v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 2243 (2016), did not impliedly abrogate the analytical approach and conclusion in United States v. Becerril-Lopez, 541 F.3d 881 (9th Cir. 2008). The Ninth Circuit affirmed defendant's 57 month sentence after the district court applied a 16-level enhancement based on the ground that defendant's prior conviction for robbery under California Penal Code 211 was categorically a crime of violence. The panel held that, even assuming the district court's failure to accept defendant's guilty plea expressly was error, it provided no ground for reversing his conviction or sentence. The panel also held that the district court properly relied on Becerril-Lopez to impose a 16-level sentencing enhancement in this case. View "United States v. Chavez-Cuevas" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of habeas relief, in which plaintiff sought a custody redetermination as he awaits the outcome of administrative proceedings to determine whether he has a reasonable fear of returning to his native country of El Salvador. The panel held that, because plaintiff's reinstated removal order remains administratively final, he was detained pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1231(a); section 1226(a) has no application in this case; and thus plaintiff was not entitled to a bond hearing. View "Padilla-Ramirez v. Bible" on Justia Law

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By enacting the Homeland Security Act (HSA) and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), Congress did not terminate Paragraph 24A of the Flores Settlement with respect to bond hearings for unaccompanied minors. This appeal stemmed from a settlement agreement between the plaintiff class and the federal government that established a nationwide policy for the detention, release, and treatment of minors in the custody of the INS. Paragraph 24A of the Flores Agreement provides that a "minor in deportation proceedings shall be afforded a bond redetermination hearing before an immigration judge." The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of plaintiffs' motion to enforce the Flores Agreement, holding that nothing in the text, structure, or purpose of the HSA or TVPRA renders continued compliance with Paragraph 24A, as it applies to unaccompanied minors, "impermissible." View "Flores v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's denial of asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The panel held that substantial evidence supported the IJ's adverse credibility finding where the IJ determined that petitioner gave equivocal testimony about the reasons for errors in marriage records; petitioner's testimony regarding the critical events underlying her claims for relief were very vague; and the documents submitted by petitioner did not adequately corroborate her testimony. Furthermore, the IJ had no obligation to give petitioner an additional opportunity to bolster her case by submitting further evidence. View "Yali Wang v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Ninth Circuit granted a petition for panel rehearing, withdrew its memorandum disposition filed December 14, 2016, denied a petition for rehearing en banc as moot, and filed this opinion reversing defendant's conviction for illegal reentry. After defendant was convicted of conspiracy to export defense articles without a license and was removed from the United States, he returned and was convicted of illegal reentry. The panel held that defendant was not originally removable as charged, and so could not be convicted of illegal reentry. In this case, because the statute was overbroad and indivisible, defendant's conviction under 22 U.S.C. 2778 could not serve as a proper predicate for removal—either as an aggravated felony or a firearms offense. Accordingly, the court remanded with instructions to dismiss the indictment. View "United States v. Ochoa" on Justia Law

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Petitioner sought review of the BIA's denial of his motion to reopen proceedings to apply for protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Petitioner feared that he would be tortured on account of his sexual orientation if he is removed to his home country of Ethiopia. The Ninth Circuit held that it had jurisdiction over the petition pursuant to the exception to the jurisdictional bar of 8 U.S.C. 252(a)(2)(C) for reviewing mixed questions of law and fact, because the petition here required the panel to apply the law to undisputed facts. The panel also held that the BIA abused its discretion by disregarding or discrediting the undisputed new evidence submitted by petitioner regarding increased violence toward homosexuals in Ethiopia, including reports of violence by both the government and private citizens. Accordingly, the panel granted the petition for review. View "Agonafer v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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President Trump, in issuing Executive Order 13780, "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States," exceeded the scope of the authority delegated to him by Congress. After determining that plaintiffs have standing to assert their claims based on the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the Ninth Circuit held that plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits of that claim and that the district court's preliminary injunction order could be affirmed in large part based on statutory grounds. The panel declined to reach the Establishment Clause claim to resolve this appeal. The panel held that, in suspending the entry of more than 180 million nationals from six countries, suspending the entry of all refugees, and reducing the cap on the admission of refugees from 110,000 to 50,000 for the 2017 fiscal year, the President did not meet the essential precondition to exercising his delegated authority pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1182(f). The President failed to make a sufficient finding that the entry of the excluded classes would be detrimental to the interests of the United States. The panel also held that the Order violated other provisions of the INA that prohibit nationality-based discrimination and require the President to follow a specific process when setting the annual cap on the admission of refugees. Accordingly, the panel affirmed in large part; vacated portions of the injunction that prevent the Government from conducting internal reviews and the injunction to the extent that it runs against the President; and remanded with instructions. View "Hawaii v. Trump" on Justia Law

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California Vehicle Code 2800.2 is not categorically a crime of moral turpitude. Petitioner, a native and citizen of Mexico, petitioned for review of the BIA's decision concluding that his conviction for fleeing from a police officer under section 2800.2 was categorically a crime involving moral turpitude that made him statutorily ineligible for cancellation of removal. Given the flaws in the BIA's analysis, the Ninth Circuit accorded minimal deference to the agency's determination that section 2800.2 constitutes a categorical crime involving moral turpitude. The panel held that, under the categorical approach, the conduct criminalized in section 2800.2 does not necessarily create the risk of harm that characterizes crimes of moral turpitude, even though subsection (a) standing alone would appear to contain elements of a dangerous crime. The court explained that, in this case, it did not apply the modified categorical approach because the elements of section 2800.2 were clearly indivisible. View "Ramirez-Contreras v. Sessions" on Justia Law