Articles Posted in Immigration Law

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Petitioner sought review of the denial of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The Eighth Circuit denied the petition, holding that there was no legal error in the IJ's determination that petitioner's application for asylum was untimely. The court also held that the criminal acts against petitioner by his cousin did not constitute persecution for purposes of withholding removal, and the specific acts petitioner put forward as evidence of persecution generally do not rise to the level of persecution. Finally, petitioner abandoned his claims regarding the denial of CAT relief. View "Lesum v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence of 111 days and 3 years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful use of identification documents. The court held that the district court's decision to impose supervised release was both consistent with the Sentencing Guidelines and an appropriate exercise of the district court's wide latitude in determining a sentence. In this case, the conditions of defendant's supervised release specified if he were removed or deported, he could not reenter the United States without permission, but he would not be on active supervision while he was outside the country. View "United States v. Hernandez-Loera" on Justia Law

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The Eighth 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 relief under the Convention Against Torture. Petitioner, a native and citizen of Cameroon, claimed that he was persecuted on account of his political opinion based on his membership in the Southern Cameroon National Council. The court held that there was no basis for granting the petition for review where the undisputed harm petitioner claimed to have suffered did not rise to the level of persecution; petitioner lacked a well-founded fear of future persecution; and petitioner could not meet the more rigorous burdens for CAT relief. View "Njong v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's order denying their claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court held that even if the IJ committed procedural error by stopping petitioner's counsel from proposing a particular social group, petitioner failed to demonstrate any resulting prejudice. Furthermore, there was no violation of due process where the IJ's conduct in this case did not show a deep-seated favoritism or antagonism that precluded fair judgment. Finally, petitioner's claims regarding humanitarian asylum and ineffective assistance of counsel were raised for the first time in the petition and thus the court lacked jurisdiction over the claims. View "Gutierrez Molina v. Whitaker" 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 motion to reconsider the BIA's previous order denying him a discretionary adjustment of status. The court noted that it had jurisdiction to review the petition for abuse of discretion. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion for reconsideration. In this case, the BIA satisfied its obligation to provide a "rational explanation" for its original decision to deny petitioner relief when it denied his motion to reconsider. In this case, the BIA's explanation that it did not violate the clear error standard of review in its weighing of the attempted suicide of one of petitioner's victims qualified as a "rational explanation." View "Camacho v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction after he pleaded guilty to unlawful use of identification documents and was sentenced to time served in prison. Defendant alleged that defense counsel provided ineffective assistance in failing to adequately warn him about the immigration consequences of his guilty plea. The court held that the record was sufficient to determine that the ineffective assistance claim was without merit where defense counsel and the district court complied with Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356, 374 (2010). Furthermore, defendant already knew from his ICE custody and prior dealings with immigration officials that deportation was likely. View "United States v. Ramirez-Jimenez" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's dismissal of petitioner's appeal of the IJ's denial of asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court applied the deferential evidence standard and held that the harm petitioner suffered at the hands of a local politician was not severe enough to constitute past persecution. Furthermore, petitioner failed to establish a well-founded fear of future persecution where he could relocate to another part of Ecuador. View "Molina-Cabrera v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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DHS detained Ramirez, a citizen of Guatemala, in 2014, after she illegally entered the U.S. Ramirez stated she feared a neighbor would kill her if she returned to Guatemala because he frequently asked her to have sex, and she refused; she reported this neighbor to the police after he attempted to rape another woman, but the police did not arrest him. Ramirez said this neighbor sent men to confront her at knifepoint, demanding money and threatening to kill her. Ramirez submitted her asylum application (completed with the help of an attorney) and represented herself pro se. The IJ denied the application, stating Ramirez feared a “personal and a potential criminal act,” not “persecution” or “torture” necessary for securing asylum, withholding of removal, or Convention Against Torture relief. The written decision concluded that Ramirez failed to demonstrate either past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The decision repeatedly, erroneously, referred to Mexico and its caption charged Ramirez under the wrong statutory section. The BIA found “harmless error.” Ramirez argued the IJ’s hearing conduct violated procedural due process, failing to provide individualized consideration. The Eighth Circuit denied relief. The IJ gave Ramirez declined repeated opportunities to expound on her claim; on appeal, Ramirez failed to explain the evidence she might have offered had the IJ asked further questions. The BIA's order disavowed any errors and exercised the requisite independent judgment supported by substantial evidence. View "Ramirez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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