Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Immigration Law
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In 2012 the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Eight states and the Governors of two states, led by Texas, have challenged DACA’s validity. In ruling on competing motions for summary judgment, the district court held that the DACA Memorandum violates procedural and substantive requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The district court vacated the DACA Memorandum and remanded to DHS for further consideration but temporarily stayed that vacatur as it applies to current DACA recipients. The district court further ruled that DHS may continue to accept new and renewal DACA applications but enjoined DHS from approving any new DACA applications.   The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment in part but remanded to the district court rather than DHS in light of a final rule promulgated by DHS in August 2022. The court explained that it affirmed the district court’s judgment with regard to the procedural and substantive provisions of the DACA memorandum.   There is evidence that if DACA were no longer in effect, at least some recipients would leave, and their departure would reduce the State’s Medicaid, social services and education costs for those individuals and their families who depart with them. Especially with the benefit of special solicitude, Texas has established that rescinding DACA would redress its harm. Accordingly, Texas has demonstrated standing based on its direct injury. Further, the court held that because DACA did not undergo notice and comment, it violates the procedural requirements of the APA. View "State of Texas v. USA" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied the petition for review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner's application for cancellation of removal, holding that substantial evidence supported the BIA's determination that Petitioner had not shown prejudice, and the BIA committed no error of law in that ruling.Petitioner, a native of Haiti, was charged as removable under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(C) based on a firearm conviction. Petitioner filed applications for asylum, withholding of removal, protection under the Convention Against Torture, and cancellation of removal. The immigration judge (IJ) denied relief, and the BIA upheld the IJ's determination. The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review, holding that Petitioner was deserving of cancellation of removal. View "Dorce v. Garland" on Justia Law

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ICE has decided to rely almost exclusively on privately owned and operated facilities in California. Two such facilities are run by appellant The Geo Group, Inc. AB 32 would override the federal government’s decision, pursuant to discretion conferred by Congress, to use private contractors to run its immigration detention facilities.The Ninth Circuit en banc court vacated the district court’s denial of the United States and The Geo Group, Inc.’s motion for preliminary injunctive relief, and held that California enacted Assembly Bill (AB) 32, which states that a “person shall not operate a private detention facility within the state,” would give California a virtual power of review over Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s detention decisions, in violation of the Supremacy Clause.The en banc court held that whether analyzed under intergovernmental immunity or preemption, California cannot exert this level of control over the federal government’s detention operations. The en banc court remanded for further proceedings. The en banc court held that AB 32 would breach the core promise of the Supremacy Clause. To comply with California law, ICE would have to cease its ongoing immigration detention operations in California and adopt an entirely new approach in the state. This foundational limit on state power cannot be squared with the dramatic changes that AB 32 would require ICE to make. The en banc court held that appellants are likely to prevail on their claim that AB 32 violates the Supremacy Clause as to ICE-contracted facilities. View "THE GEO GROUP, INC., ET AL V. GAVIN NEWSOM, ET AL" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of the ruling of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) vacating the immigration judge's (IJ) decision granting Petitioner's application for cancellation of removal and ordering Petitioner removed, holding that the BIA did not commit reversible legal error.Petitioner, a native and citizen of Guatemala, conceded that he was removable from the United States but sought cancellation of removal predicated on the impact his removal would have on his young children. The IJ granted the application, concluding that Petitioner established the requisite extreme hardship. The BIA reversed, holding that the IJ incorrectly concluded that the hardships presented were sufficient to satisfy the applicable standard. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Petitioner failed to show that the BIA misconstrued or overlooked relevant evidence and that there was no evidence that the BIA applied an improper standard. View "Domingo-Mendez v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the judgment the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the denial of Appellant's request for withholding of removal under 8 U.S.C. 1231(b)(3) and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), 8 C.F.R. 1208. 16(c)-1208.18 and the denial of her motion to remand, holding that the BIA abused its discretion in denying Appellant's motion to remand.Appellant, a citizen and native of El Salvador, pursued withholding of removal under 8 U.S.C. 1231(b)(3) and protection under the CAT. An immigration judge (IJ) denied Appellant's claims on the basis that she was not credible. On appeal, Appellant sought to, among other things, remand her case for consideration of new evidence that she claimed had not been previously available. The BIA upheld the IJ's adverse credibility finding and affirmed the denial of relief. The First Circuit vacated the BIA's decision and remanded the case, holding that the BIA abused its discretion in determining that the new evidence was not likely to change the result in this case. View "Rivera-Medrano v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court remanded this immigration case to the Boards of Immigration Appeals (BIA) after it affirmed an immigration judge's (IJ) decision to deny Petitioner's applications for relief from removal based on two marijuana offenses found by the IJ and the BIA to be "particularly serious" pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1158(b)(2)(A)(ii) and 1231(b)(3)(B)(ii), holding that remand was required.The IJ found Petitioner removable based on two Massachusetts state court convictions involving marijuana. The BIA upheld the IJ's determination that Petitioner was ineligible for asylum and withholding of removal for having been convicted of a particularly serious crime. The Supreme Court granted Petitioner's petition for review, holding that there was not a sufficient rational explanation to explain the BIA's conclusion that Petitioner's minor marijuana offenses were particularly serious crimes and that remand was required. View "Dor v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit dismissed Petitioner's petition for review of an immigration judge's (IJ) denial of his application for withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture and denied Petitioner's petition to review the Board of Immigration Appeals' (BIA) denial of his motion to reopen proceedings, holding that Petitioner was not entitled to relief.On January 16, 2020, the BIA dismissed Petitioner's appeal of the IJ's denial of his application for withholding of removal and protection under CAT. On June 10, 2020, the BIA denied Petitioner's motion to reopen. Petitioner petitioned for review of both decisions. The First Circuit held (1) Petitioner's petition for review was untimely as to the January 16 decision; and (2) the BIA did not err by denying Petitioner's motion to reopen his orders of removal. View "Sarmiento v. Garland" on Justia Law

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In 2002, Petitioner Mayra Estrada-Cardona entered the United States on a tourist visa which she subsequently overstayed. She resided in the United States with her two United States citizen children: A.E. and L.E. A.E. suffers from mental and physical disabilities, some of which are likely to be lifelong. While in the United States, Petitioner played a key role in ensuring A.E. received physical therapy and special education support—both vital to A.E.’s wellbeing and continued progress. In 2009, Petitioner was arrested for driving without a license. She pled guilty and paid the associated fines, but because of the traffic violation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained Petitioner and began removal proceedings. At the hearing, Petitioner appeared unrepresented and conceded the charge contained in the notice to appear—rendering her removable. At the time, Petitioner was in the country for at most seven years, making her statutorily ineligible for any discretionary relief from removal. The immigration judge therefore ordered Petitioner to voluntarily depart the United States. Every year—from 2013 to 2017—Petitioner requested a stay of removal, and every year ICE approved her request. ICE denied her most recent request on December 28, 2017. ICE did not take any immediate action to remove Petitioner from the United States, only requiring her to attend regular check-ins at the local ICE office. ICE finally detained Petitioner and initiated removal on September 30, 2020. Petitioner asked the BIA to reopen removal proceedings pursuant to Pereira v. Sessions, 138 S. Ct. 2105 (2018). Petitioner's notice to appear failed to specify the “time and place at which the proceedings will be held.” Because the notice to appear did not stop the clock, Petitioner insisted that she had the requisite presence to be eligible for cancellation of removal because she had been in the country for 16 years. BIA held Petitioner was not eligible for cancellation of removal because the immigration judge issued the order to voluntarily depart, which qualified as a final order of removal, when Petitioner had accrued, at most, eight years of physical presence. The Tenth Circuit rejected the BIA's final-order argument, holding that a final order of removal did not stop the accrual of continuous physical presence. View "Estrada-Cardona v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeal affirming the judgment of the probate court denying Petitioner's petition to issue the predicate findings he needed to support an application to the federal government for special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) status, holding that the probate court applied an incorrect legal framework in ruling on Petitioner's petition.Petitioner, who left his native El Salvador at the age of sixteen to escape gang violence, filed an SIJ petition the day after he turned eighteen. The probate court denied the petition, and the court of appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded with direction that the case be remanded to the probate court for issuance of SIJ predicate findings, holding that returning Petitioner to live in El Salvador would be detrimental to his best interest under California law. View "In re Guardianship of Saul H." on Justia Law

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The Secretary of Homeland Security’s 2021 Guidance notes that the Department lacks the resources to apprehend and remove all of the more than 11 million removable noncitizens in the country and prioritizes apprehension and removal of noncitizens who are threats to “national security, public safety, and border security.” Whether a noncitizen poses a threat to public safety "requires an assessment of the individual and the totality of the facts and circumstances.” The Guidance lists aggravating and mitigating factors that immigration officers should consider and does not “compel an action to be taken or not taken,” and “may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit.” In a suit by Arizona, Montana, and Ohio, the district court issued a “nationwide preliminary injunction,” blocking the Department from relying on the Guidance priorities and policies in making detention, arrest, and removal decisions. The Sixth Circuit granted a stay pending appeal and subsequently reversed the order. The court noted “many dubious justiciability questions” with respect to standing. The Guidance leaves considerable implementation discretion and does not create any legal rights for noncitizens, suggesting it is not reviewable. Even if the states cleared the justiciability hurdles, they are unlikely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the Guidance violates the Administrative Procedure Act, whether on the grounds that it is contrary to law, it is arbitrary or capricious, or it lacks a required notice and comment, 5 U.S.C. 706(2), 553. View "Arizona v. Biden" on Justia Law