Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s appeal of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying her request for deferral of removal under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding holding that the BIA’s factual determinations were supported by reasonable, substantial and probative evidence on the record. Petitioner, a native and citizen of the Dominican Republic, sought deferral of removal under the CAT, basing her claim on domestic abuse that she suffered at the hands of her partner of fifteen years. An immigration judge (IJ) found Petitioner to be credible in describing her abuse and granted deferral of removal. The BIA reversed the IJ’s determination, noting that the IJ applied an incorrect legal standard. The BIA then concluded that Petitioner did not meet her burden of establishing that the government had acquiesced in her harm or would be more likely than not to do so if she were to return. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the BIA did not err in finding that Petitioner had not established that the government would acquiesce in her harm upon removal. View "Ruiz-Guerrero v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition seeking judicial review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissing his application for asylum, holding that substantial evidence supported the BIA’s determination that Petitioner was not entitled to asylum. Petitioner premised his asylum application on a claim that he had been persecuted in the past, and feared future persecution, by gang members on account of of his political opinion and/or membership in a particular social group. The immigration judge (IJ) rejected Petitioner’s request for asylum. The BIA upheld the IJ’s findings, determining that Petitioner had failed to establish a nexus between the harm that he described and any statutorily protected ground for asylum status. The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for judicial review, holding that Scatambuli v. Holder, 558 F.3d 53, 59 (1st Cir. 2009), controlled the outcome of this case, requiring that this Court uphold the BIA’s determination. View "Mendez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit upheld the rejection of Petitioner’s motion to reopen his removal proceedings by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and denied his petition for judicial review, holding that Petitioner failed to demonstrate due diligence in filing his untimely motion to reopen. Petitioner waited four and one-half years before moving to reopen his removal proceedings. The BIA denied the motion to reopen as untimely, finding no basis for equitable tolling, concluding that Petitioner had not exercised due diligence in filing his motion. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the BIA did not commit a material error of law and did not exercise its authority arbitrarily, capriciously, or irrationally by denying the motion to reopen. View "Pineda v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied in part and dismissed in part Petitioner’s petition for judicial review of a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision affirming an immigration judge’s (IJ) denial of his requests for asylum, for withholding of removal, and for protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding (1) the BIA did not err in upholding the IJ’s determination that Petitioner did not provide adequate corroboration for his claims; and (2) this Court lacked jurisdiction as to Petitioner’s claims regarding past persecution, ineffective assistance of counsel, and protection under the CAT. Specifically, the Court held (1) there was substantial evidence for the IJ’s determination that Petitioner did not provide adequate corroboration reasonably available to him for crucial elements of his claims; and (2) Petitioner’s remaining claims were waived to due a failure to exhaust administrative remedies. View "Avelar Gonzalez v. Whitaker" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review challenging the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA) denial of his motion to reconsider its order refusing to open his case, holding that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in rejecting Petitioner’s motion to reconsider. Petitioner, a citizen of Ghana who unlawfully entered the United States, sought cancellation of removal based on hardship to his U.S.-citizen daughter and voluntary departure. The immigration judge (IJ) denied Petitioner’s request for cancellation of removal and also denied voluntary departure. The BIA affirmed the IJ’s denial of voluntary departure. Thereafter, the BIA denied Petitioner’s motion to reopen the proceedings based on alleged ineffective assistance of counsel and then denied Petitioner’s motion to reconsider. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying Petitioner’s motion to reconsider on the ground that Petitioner failed to identify a specific legal or factual error in the BIA’s original adjudication of his motion to reopen. View "Kuffour v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit dismissed Petitioner’s petition for review of a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) final decision denying his application for cancellation of removal, holding that the Court lacked jurisdiction over Petitioner’s challenges to the BIA’s decision. Petitioner, a native and citizen of Guatemala who entered the United States illegally, filed an application for cancellation of removal pursuant to section 240A(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1229b(b)(1). Due in part to criminal charges pending against Defendant of child molestation, an immigration judge (IJ) denied Petitioner’s request. The BIA affirmed the IJ and dismissed Petitioner’s appeal. The First Circuit dismissed Petitioner’s petition for review, holding that jurisdiction was lacking where Petitioner stated no colorable legal or constitutional claim. View "Rivera v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings the district court’s denial of Plaintiff’s challenge of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care’s (HPHC) denial of coverage for the cost of Plaintiff’s uncovered care at a mental health residential treatment facility, holding that the administrative record upon which the district court based its findings should have been supplemented. HPHC, Plaintiff’s insurer, deemed a portion of the time Plaintiff spent at the residential facility not medically necessary under the health care benefits plan established by the employer of Plaintiff’s parent and therefore denied coverage for that portion of the treatment. Plaintiff brought suit under ERISA, 29 U.S.C. 1001-1461. The district court affirmed on de novo review, concluding that continued residential treatment was not medically necessary for Plaintiff. The First Circuit vacated the district court’s order granting summary judgment for HPHC and remanded for further proceedings, holding (1) when a district court examines the denial of ERISA benefits de novo, the court’s factual findings are reviewed only for clear error; and (2) such a deferential review cannot properly be conducted in this case on the administrative record. View "Doe v. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Inc." on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the opinion of the Board of Immigration Appeal (BIA) affirming an Immigration Judge’s (IJ) denial of Petitioner’s application seeking asylum relief, withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act, and protection pursuant to the Convention Against Torture Act (CAT) and ordering her removed, holding that there was no merit to Petitioner’s arguments before this Court. On appeal, Petitioner argued that the BIA erred in affirming the IJ’s finding that she did not suffer past persecution on account of being a member of a protected class, she did not have a well-founded fear of future persecution, and she was not entitled to protection under the CAT. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the BIA’s decision was well supported, and review of the record did not compel a different outcome. View "Aguilar-de Guillen v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit granted Petitioner’s petition for judicial review of the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner’s motion to reopen his removal proceedings, holding that the BIA overlooked a significant factor relevant to its analysis. During his removal hearing, Petitioner, an Indonesian national and an evangelical Christian, testified that he had experienced persecution in Indonesia on account of his faith. An immigration judge denied relief. Approximately ten years later, Petitioner moved to reopen his removal proceedings, arguing that conditions in Indonesia affecting Indonesian Christians had materially changed. The BIA denied relief. The First Circuit vacated the BIA’s order, holding that the BIA abused its discretion in neglecting to consider significant facts that may have had a bearing on the validity of Petitioner’s motion to reopen. The Court remanded so that the BIA may determine, after considering all the relevant evidence, whether Petitioner has made a prima facie showing of eligibility for the relief sought. View "Sihotang v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit (1) denied Petitioners’ petition for review as to their challenge to the determination of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that Petitioners' motion to reopen a removal order was untimely and number barred, and (2) dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction as to Petitioners’ challenge to the BIA’s decision not to exercise its authority to reopen sua sponte. Petitioners, natives of Guatemala, were ordered removed by an immigration judge in 2000. In 2001, the BIA denied their appeal. In 2017, Petitioners filed a motion to reopen or reconsider the removal order. The BIA denied the motion as untimely filed and numerically barred. The BIA also declined to reopen the removal proceedings sua sponte because it did not consider Petitioners’ situation “exceptional.” The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the BIA correctly held that Petitioners had failed to justify the delay in filing the motion to reopen and dismissing it as untimely; and (2) this Court lacked jurisdiction to review the BIA’s decision not to reopen sua sponte. View "Lemus v. Sessions" on Justia Law