Articles Posted in Immigration Law

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Correa-Diaz, born in 1986 and a citizen of Mexico, entered the U.S. as a minor without parole. In 2004, Correa-Diaz, age 18, was arrested, based on a police officer’s observation of his conduct, in an automobile, with a 14-year-old girl. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment on an attempted sexual intercourse charge and six months’ imprisonment a sexual contact charge. The court suspended Correa-Diaz’s sentence. In 2015, Correa-Diaz pleaded guilty to counterfeiting in violation of Indiana law and was charged as removable under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii) for having been convicted of an aggravated felony, as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(A). The Seventh Circuit denied relief, rejecting arguments that the 2004 offenses did not constitute aggravated felonies. Because the Indiana law focused solely on the age of the participants, section 1101(a)(43)(A) requires the age of the victim to be less than 16. That condition was satisfied and “perform[ing] or submit[ing] to sexual intercourse or deviate sexual conduct” in violation of Indiana law constitutes “sexual abuse,” defined by the BIA “[t]he employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of a child to engage in, or assist another person to engage in, sexually explicit conduct or the rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children.” View "Correa-Diaz v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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Zhakypbaev, a citizen of Kyrgyzstan, was admitted to the U.S. in 2012 as a nonimmigrant student to attend the Computer Systems Institute. His wife and three daughters were admitted based on his status. He did not attend the Institute after February 4, 2013, and in April 2013, filed applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. His claims were premised on the events surrounding the ouster of president Bakiev in Kyrgyzstan in April 2010. Zhakypbaev claimed that based on his connections with the Bakiev family and with Bakiev’s political party, he was persecuted and had a well‐founded fear of future persecution in Kyrgyzstan. The Immigration Judge denied relief, holding that Zhakypbaev failed to demonstrate that his persecution was connected to his political opinion or social group and that he had failed to establish a threat of torture. The BIA affirmed. The Seventh Circuit denied a petition for review. The IJ and BIA could properly conclude that Zhakypbaev’s claimed persecution, a beating and questioning, did not result from his political affiliation but from his potential as a witness because of his employment. View "Zhakypbaev v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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Zhakypbaev, a citizen of Kyrgyzstan, was admitted to the U.S. in 2012 as a nonimmigrant student to attend the Computer Systems Institute. His wife and three daughters were admitted based on his status. He did not attend the Institute after February 4, 2013, and in April 2013, filed applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. His claims were premised on the events surrounding the ouster of president Bakiev in Kyrgyzstan in April 2010. Zhakypbaev claimed that based on his connections with the Bakiev family and with Bakiev’s political party, he was persecuted and had a well‐founded fear of future persecution in Kyrgyzstan. The Immigration Judge denied relief, holding that Zhakypbaev failed to demonstrate that his persecution was connected to his political opinion or social group and that he had failed to establish a threat of torture. The BIA affirmed. The Seventh Circuit denied a petition for review. The IJ and BIA could properly conclude that Zhakypbaev’s claimed persecution, a beating and questioning, did not result from his political affiliation but from his potential as a witness because of his employment. View "Zhakypbaev v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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Perez-Montes, a citizen of Mexico, entered the U.S. in 1989 as a lawful permanent resident. In 2001 he joined the Army and served two tours in Afghanistan. He received a general discharge under honorable conditions. He did not apply for citizenship. In 2010, he was convicted of a cocaine offense, which led to removal proceedings. Aliens convicted of aggravated felonies remain eligible for deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture. Perez-Montes contended that he was at risk of being tortured or killed in Mexico because his military training would lead drug gangs to recruit him; that the police would fail to protect him; and that the Mexican government tortures its citizens who return after serving in the U.S. military. An immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals rejected his argument. The Seventh Circuit denied a petition for review, rejecting an argument that the Board and the IJ erred by asking, instead, whether he faced a “substantial risk” of torture in Mexico. “More likely than not” is the standard burden in civil litigation and does not impose a statistical or quantitative requirement; “substantial risk” means nothing more than the “more likely than not” standard. It was designed, rather, as a non-quantitative restatement of that standard. View "Perez-Montes v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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Perez-Montes, a citizen of Mexico, entered the U.S. in 1989 as a lawful permanent resident. In 2001 he joined the Army and served two tours in Afghanistan. He received a general discharge under honorable conditions. He did not apply for citizenship. In 2010, he was convicted of a cocaine offense, which led to removal proceedings. Aliens convicted of aggravated felonies remain eligible for deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture. Perez-Montes contended that he was at risk of being tortured or killed in Mexico because his military training would lead drug gangs to recruit him; that the police would fail to protect him; and that the Mexican government tortures its citizens who return after serving in the U.S. military. An immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals rejected his argument. The Seventh Circuit denied a petition for review, rejecting an argument that the Board and the IJ erred by asking, instead, whether he faced a “substantial risk” of torture in Mexico. “More likely than not” is the standard burden in civil litigation and does not impose a statistical or quantitative requirement; “substantial risk” means nothing more than the “more likely than not” standard. It was designed, rather, as a non-quantitative restatement of that standard. View "Perez-Montes v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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Sharareh fled Iran in 1986, became a naturalized citizen of Norway, and married a Norwegian citizen. In 1999, using a Norwegian passport, Sharareh entered the U.S. She applied for asylum, stating that she was an Iranian national without disclosing that she was a Norwegian citizen. She falsely stated that she was married to an Iranian citizen who had been tortured. The application was granted. Sharareh traveled to Norway several times in 2001-2002 using her Norwegian passport. Sharareh applied for adjustment of status, omitting reference to Norway. She became a lawful permanent resident. In 2008, she was charged with removability under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(1)(A). An IJ denied relief under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(1)(H), stating fraud waiver is not available for frauds committed at the time of an adjustment of status. The IJ declined to consider DHS’ argument that Sharareh was barred from all relief because she filed a frivolous asylum application, 8 U.S.C. 1158(d)(6). DHS later conceded that an IJ may waive frauds committed in an adjustment of status. The BIA remanded. The IJ denied relief, finding that Sharareh had made a knowing frivolous asylum application. The BIA and Seventh Circuit upheld the denial. The court rejected an argument that the BIA procedurally erred in granting DHS’ motion to remand. DHS’ opposition brief sought affirmance of the decision, while also arguing that the record supported a frivolous asylum application finding. This was the proper way to preserve the issue on appeal. View "Shojaeddini v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Seventh Circuit previously concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to review the BIA’s characterization of Fuller’s conviction for attempted criminal sexual assault as a “particularly serious crime,” under 8 U.S.C. 1231(b)(3)(B)(ii). The characterization barred Fuller from withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Convention Against Torture. The court also upheld the denial of deferral of removal under CAT, finding that Fuller had not credibly shown that he was bisexual, nor that the Jamaican government would regard him as such. Fuller then unsuccessfully sought to reopen the ruling and submit evidence of his sexual orientation and that he will be killed if returned to Jamaica. The evidence consisted of letters from individuals who knew Fuller in Jamaica and concerned acts of violence against Fuller. Without reaching the merits, the Seventh Circuit denied Fuller a stay of removal. The BIA considered Fuller’s new evidence and was not persuaded that it would have made a difference in the credibility determination; the BIA’s decision on a motion to reopen “is discretionary and unreviewable.” The court stated: “It is sobering to realize that if the Board has made the wrong call, the consequence for Fuller may be death” and expressed hope that this would be taken into consideration. View "Fuller v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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In November 2005, Lee was admitted to the U.S. as a nonimmigrant student's spouse. In March 2006, the Temple sought a nonimmigrant religious worker (R-1) visa for Lee. That petition remained pending in USCIS’s California Service Center (CSC) for almost four years. In October 2009, CSC indicated that USCIS intended to approve the petition and retroactively amend Lee’s status, to give her lawful status June 2006-May 2009 and that the Temple could apply for an extension for the remaining eligibility period, through May 2011. CSC’s approval notice stated that the R‐1 visa was valid through May 2009. CSC later approved an extension, covering May 2010-October 2011, leaving a gap in Lee’s lawful status. A November 2010 I‐360 petition, seeking classification as a special immigrant religious worker, stated that Lee had worked for the Temple since October 2009. CSC denied the application because Lee had worked when she did not have a valid visa. In June 2013, CSC agreed to eliminate the gap; CSC approved the I‐360 petition. In December 2013, Lee sought to adjust her status to lawful permanent resident. The Nebraska Service Center denied Lee’s application, noting a status violation. USCIS indicated its intent to revoke the I‐360 petition for failure to establish that Lee had worked continuously in a qualifying occupation for two years immediately preceding the application. The Temple responded that CSC had unreasonably delayed the initial application. USCIS considered that an admission and revoked the I‐360. The Seventh Circuit affirmed dismissal of a petition for judicial review. The revocation at issue is the type of discretionary action that 8 U.S.C. 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii) bars from judicial review. View "Bultasa Buddhist Temple of Chicago v. Nielsen" on Justia Law

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After Son became a U.S. citizen in 2013, she filed a successful I-130 visa petition on Matushkina’s (her mother) behalf. A U.S. Consulate denied Matushkina's 2015 application for an immigrant visa based on a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) 2009 determination, at the border, that she was inadmissible because Matushkina had not disclosed that her daughter was working in the U.S. in violation of her student visa, “a willful misrepresentation of a material fact,” 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(6)(C)(i). Matushkina immediately withdrew her application for admission. The CBP officer entered the inadmissibility finding in the electronic system. Matushkina’s nonimmigrant visa was canceled; she promptly left the U.S. Seven years later Matushkina and Son filed suit, alleging that the 2009 inadmissibility determination violated the Administrative Procedures Act and that the CBP officer violated provisions of the CBP Inspector’s Field Manual and “due process and notions of fundamental fairness.” The court dismissed for lack of standing, As an unadmitted alien, Matushkina had no legally protected right to enter the U.S. Son had no standing because she was not yet a citizen in 2009. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, on the merits, reasoning that the case was, in essence, a challenge to the visa denial, and that decision is not subject to judicial review. View "Matushkina v. Davies" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(U) created a new nonimmigrant visa classification that permits immigrants who are victims of serious crimes and who assist law enforcement to apply for and receive a nonimmigrant visa called a U-visa. There is a statutory cap of 10,000 U-visas each fiscal year. Since 2009, the U-Visa backlog has increased from 21,138 to 177,340 pending applications. Calderon-Ramirez, a citizen of Guatemala, entered the U.S. in 2002 and was the victim of an attack in 2014. He filed a petition for U Nonimmigrant Status in February 2015 and is waiting to be evaluated for the waiting list. In 2016, he sought a writ of mandamus, to compel Homeland Security to adjudicate his petition. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of his suit. Ramirez did not set forth any facts that differentiate himself from other petitioners waiting ahead of him for adjudication. While there are instances when the government can and will expedite a petition, Ramirez failed to present a situation appropriate to warrant such an action. The court stated that the wait Ramirez faces is not unreasonable. View "Calderon-Ramirez v. McCament" on Justia Law