Articles Posted in Immigration Law

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The Eighth Circuit dismissed a petition for review challenging the denial of her application for asylum as untimely. The court held that it lacked jurisdiction to review the BIA's determination that petitioner did not establish an excuse for her late filing based on changed circumstances. In this case, the IJ was making a case-specific materiality determination, not announcing a per se rule. Neither the IJ nor the BIA engaged in an analysis of the statute or otherwise elaborated on the meaning of "changed circumstances," which foreclosed the possibility that this case presented a question of statutory interpretation for the court to review. View "Burka v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's denial of petitioner's request for asylum, withholding of removal, and application for relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) based on his claim that he faced danger in his home country of Ghana. The court held that it lacked jurisdiction to determine the timeliness of petitioner's asylum application; the evidence petitioner submitted to support his request to remand based on changed country conditions was immaterial and did not support a remand based on changed country conditions; and petitioner's claim of humanitarian asylum was foreclosed because he failed to raise this issue to the agency. The court also held that petitioner failed to demonstrate a likelihood of future persecution or torture. In this case, petitioner's evidence would not compel all reasonable factfinders to conclude that his life or freedom would be endangered by a return to Ghana. Therefore, the court denied his petition for review of the denial of withholding of removal. Likewise, petitioner's claim for relief under the CAT also failed. View "Degbe v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Eighth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's order dismissing petitioner's administrative appeal of the IJ's denial of her motion to reopen removal proceedings and rescind her in absentia removal order. The court held that the BIA abused its discretion because it did not address whether petitioner's inability to get proper medical attention constituted exceptional circumstances sufficient to excuse her failure to attend her asylum hearing. Therefore, the court remanded for the agency to determine in the first instance whether petitioner's motion to reopen warranted a favorable exercise of the BIA's discretion. View "Payeras v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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Petitioner and her children petitioned for review of the BIA's order denying their applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court held that there was no legal error as to petitioner's petition and that substantial evidence supported the Board's decision that her proposed social group (targeted gang girlfriends or witnesses who report crimes to the police) lacked particularity and was not cognizable. Furthermore, the record did not support a conclusion that a family relationship was a central reason for petitioner's persecution, and she failed to meet her burden of proof on her CAT claim. Therefore, the court denied her petition for review. In regard to the children's petition, the court held that the record showed they presented independent applications, but the Board failed to decide the applications separately from their mother's. Therefore, the court granted their petitions for review and remanded their cases for further consideration. View "Pena De Rivas v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision upholding the IJ's denial of petitioner's applications for asylum and withholding of removal. The court held that the IJ and BIA applied the correct legal standard in requiring petitioner to show his social group or political opinion was the predominant reason for the persecution. The court held that petitioner's asylum claim failed because the evidence did not compel a finding that petitioner was persecuted on account of his social group or political opinion. Likewise, petitioner's application for withholding of removal also failed. In this case, a reasonable factfinder could conclude that gangs were targeting petitioner for general recruitment purposes and his relationship to his father, a former policeman, was merely "incidental or tangential" to that goal. View "Gomez-Rivera v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision denying petitioner's application for adjustment of status under the Violence Against Women Act. The court held that substantial evidence supported the IJ's finding that petitioner, a Canadian citizen, knew she was ineligible to vote in the 2004 election and did so anyway. Furthermore, petitioner failed to show clearly and beyond doubt that she was entitled to an entrapment-by-estoppel defense. View "Chernosky v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Eighth Circuit granted a petition for review of the Board's decision vacating the IJ's order of withholding of removal, and denial of relief, ordering petitioner removed to Mexico. The court was unable to tell from the Board's rather opaque opinion whether the agency followed its regulations and applied the correct standard of review. Therefore, the court remanded to the Board for further proceedings in which it may clarify its decision or apply the correct standard of review as appropriate. View "Garcia-Mata v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of a decision finding petitioner removable from the United States. The court held that the BIA did not err by concluding that petitioner was removable for committing a controlled substance and an aggravated felony. In this case, petitioner's prior Missouri conviction for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver in violation of Mo. Rev. Stat. Sec. 195.211 made him removable. View "Martinez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of a decision finding petitioner removable from the United States. The court held that the BIA did not err by concluding that petitioner was removable for committing a controlled substance and an aggravated felony. In this case, petitioner's prior Missouri conviction for possession of a controlled substance in violation of Mo. Rev. Stat. Sec. 195.202 made him removable. View "Bueno-Muela v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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During the Rwandan Genocide, the United States admitted a limited number of refugees with priority given to those who were in the most danger, including, in 1998, Ngombwa and purported members of his family. In 1998, DHS received information from prosecutors in Rwanda that Ngombwa had twice been convicted in absentia by Rwandan tribal courts for participation in the Genocide and had been named in an indictment in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The government proved at trial that his admission, status, and eventual naturalization were based on material falsehoods. At sentencing, the government proved to the district court’s satisfaction that the falsehoods were used to conceal Ngombwa’s participation in the Genocide. The Eighth Circuit affirmed his convictions for unlawful procurement of naturalization and conspiracy to commit the same, 18 U.S.C. 1425, 371, and his above-Guidelines sentence of 180 months. Rejecting Ngombwa’s claim his counsel was ineffective for failing to contact and interview five of his family members, the court reasoned that counsel made a strategic decision to avoid more detrimental evidence. View "United States v. Ngombwa" on Justia Law