Justia U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Immigration Law

By
Petitioner, a citizen of Thailand, appealed the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's determination that petitioner failed to demonstrate that she entered into her marriage in good faith, as required by 8 U.S.C. 1186a(c)(4)(B). In this case, petitioner sought a hardship waiver that would allow her to stay in the country despite the fact that her marriage to a United States citizen had ended in divorce. The court held that the BIA applied the wrong standard of review because the issue of whether petitioner established that her marriage was entered into in good faith under section 1186a(c)(4)(B) is a mixed question of fact and law, and thus the IJ's ultimate conclusion that the credited evidence did not meet the good faith standard is a legal judgment subject to de novo review. Accordingly, the court granted the petition and remanded for the BIA to review the IJ's determination under the proper standard. View "Upatcha v. Sessions" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated:

By
Petitioner, a native and citizen of Pakistan who was granted asylum in 1997, appealed the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's order of removal. The IJ found that petitioner deliberately misrepresented material facts in order to obtain travel documents and his lawful permanent resident status. The court affirmed the BIA's holding that because petitioner adjusted his status from an alien granted asylum to a lawful permanent resident, he no longer had protections based on his original asylum status. In this case, the court concluded that the BIA's interpretation of 8 U.S.C. 1159(b) was the best interpretation of the statute and that, in any event, it deserved Chevron deference. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. View "Mahmood v. Sessions" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated:

By
Petitioner, a native and citizen of Nepal, challenges the BIA's finding of removeability under Section 237(a)(2)(A)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(i). Section 237(a)(2)(A)(i) authorizes the removal of any alien who "is convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude committed within five years . . . after the date of admission." Petitioner was considered removeable based on the determination that his 2007 embezzlement conviction constituted a crime involving moral turpitude. The court accorded Chevron deference to the BIA's decision in Matter of Alyazji, to determine that petitioner's relevant "date of admission" was January 18, 2003: the date he was most recently admitted to the United States after taking a brief vacation abroad. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. View "Sijapati v. Boente" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated:

By
Petitioner, a native of Belarus, seeks review of the BIA's final order of removal based on petitioner's Virginia involuntary manslaughter offense, which the agency deemed a categorical crime involving moral turpitude. The court explained that an involuntary manslaughter conviction can be secured in Virginia without proving a conscious disregard of risks attendant to the offender’s conduct; such a conviction can be predicated on proof that the offender failed to appreciate or be aware of the risks emanating from his conduct. Therefore, the court concluded that Virginia’s involuntary manslaughter offense is not categorically a crime involving moral turpitude. Accordingly, the court granted the petition for review and vacated, remanding for further proceedings. View "Sotnikau v. Lynch" on Justia Law

By
Petitioner, a native and citizen of El Salvador, seeks review of the BIA's decision finding him removable based on his conviction for “Third Degree Sex Offense” under Maryland Criminal Law Article 3-307. The court concluded that the BIA erred as a matter of law, and held that petitioner's conviction does not constitute the aggravated felony of “sexual abuse of a minor” under the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(A), because Maryland Criminal Law Article 3-307 proscribes more conduct than does the generic federal offense. Accordingly, the court granted the petition for review, vacated the order of removal, and ordered his immediate release from DHS custody. View "Larios-Reyes v. Lynch" on Justia Law

By
Petitioner, a native and citizen of China, seeks review of the BIA's decision denying his requests for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court concluded that the accounts in the State Department reports, which document only isolated instances of harassment and disparate treatment of unregistered Catholic churches in different locations, substantially support the Board’s finding of a lack of widespread persecution. Therefore, the court affirmed the Board's conclusion that petitioner failed to establish a well-founded fear of persecution based on his Catholic religion. Because petitioner failed to meet his burden of proof for asylum, the court necessarily held that petitioner has not shown that he is entitled to withholding of removal. Finally, because plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as to his CAT claim, the court lacked jurisdiction to review it. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. View "Tang v. Lynch" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated:

By
Petitioner, an ethnic Hutu and a native and citizen of Rwanda, seeks review of the BIA's denial of his applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court concluded that substantial evidence supports the agency’s ultimate conclusion that petitioner assisted or participated in the Rwandan genocide. Consequently, the agency correctly determined that petitioner is barred from receiving asylum or withholding of removal. Furthermore, substantial evidence supports the denial of petitioner's request for CAT protection where the record amply supports the agency’s finding that petitioner is likely to be held in civilian prison and tried in civilian courts. Accordingly, the court denied the petition. View "Munyakazi v. Lynch" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated:

By
Petitioner, a citizen of Bolivia, seeks review of the BIA's decision finding him ineligible for cancellation of removal. The BIA determined that petitioner's Virginia conviction for forging a public record pursuant to Virginia Code Ann. 18.2-168 was an aggravated felony under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(R). The court concluded that Virginia forgery is an aggravated felony under the INA because it is a categorical match with the federal generic definition of forgery. Thus, the state and federal forgery crimes necessarily relate to one another. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review and denied the Government's request to remand as moot. View "Alvarez v. Lynch" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated:

By
Petitioner challenged the denial of her petition for a writ of habeas corpus, seeking relief as next friend of R.M.B., her minor son. R.M.B., a native of Guatemala, is being held as an unaccompanied alien child (a UAC) by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, an agency of DHHS. The court could not say that R.M.B.’s detention is based on an erroneous application or interpretation of the UAC definition where the Office found, after conducting a home study and gathering other evidence, that petitioner was incapable of providing for R.M.B.’s physical and mental well-being. The court rejected petitioner's contention that the Office lacks authority to detain R.M.B. now that his immigration proceedings have terminated. Even after R.M.B.'s immigration proceedings concluded, the Office was not entitled to release him to anyone unless it first determined that the proposed custodian was capable of providing for his physical and mental well-being. The court rejected petitioner's substantive due process claim, concluding that the Office's determination suffices to address any substantive due process concerns and renders inapposite those decisions involving challenges to state interference with control of children by fit parents. The court concluded, however, that the district court, in denying petitioner's procedural due process claim, did not utilize the proper Mathews v. Eldridge framework. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. View "Beltran v. Cardall" on Justia Law

By
Petitioner, a native and citizen of Jamaica, seeks review of the BIA's denial of his motion to reopen as untimely and denial of his request for sua sponte reopening. Determining that it has jurisdiction, the court concluded that the Board conducted an appropriate, individualized inquiry into whether petitioner exhibited reasonable diligence to warrant equitable tolling. Having articulated and applied the correct standard in reviewing petitioner's claim for equitable tolling, the court concluded that the Board did not abuse its discretion. Nor did it abuse its discretion for either of the procedural deficiencies that Lawrence asserts. Because the Board appropriately analyzed and rejected petitioner’s request for equitable tolling, the court denied petitioner's motion to reopen as untimely. As to petitioner's request for sua sponte reopening, the court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to review how the Board exercises its sua sponte discretion. View "Lawrence v. Lynch" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated: