Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

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The First Circuit granted Petitioner's petition for judicial review from the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the decision of the immigration judge (IJ) denying Petitioner's applications for relief and ordering his removal and vacated the BIA's order, holding that the agency committed clear legal error both in overlooking critical evidence supporting Petitioner's claim for withholding of removal and in using such evidence as part of its rationale for denying that claim. Petitioner, a Dominican national, was charged as removable. Petitioner filed cross-applications for withholding of removal and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT). The IJ denied Petitioner's applications, and the BIA affirmed. The First Circuit vacated the agency's final order in its entirety and remanded this matter for further proceedings, holding that the agency clearly erred in overlooking important evidence supporting Petitioner's claim for withholding of removal, and the flaws that permeated the agency's analysis of that claim potentially comprised the agency's analysis of Petitioner's CAT claim. View "Rodriguez-Villar v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit granted Petitioner's petition asking the Court to review an order from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying her motion to reopen removal proceedings, holding that the Court lacked jurisdiction to review one of Petitioner's claims but, with respect to her latter three claims, it was appropriate to grant the petition and remand to the BIA for further proceedings. Petitioner, a native and citizen of Ghana, petitioned the BIA to reopen removal proceedings so that she could apply for cancellation of removal under the "special rule" for battered spouses and children, asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. Before the First Circuit, Petitioner argued that the BIA erred in denying the motion on each of those grounds. The First Circuit held (1) this Court is without jurisdiction to review the BIA's denial of "special rule" cancellation; and (2) this case must be remanded to the BIA for further examination and explication of its decision ruling against Petitioner on her remaining claims. View "Twum v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit reversed the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner's motion to reopen his removal proceedings, holding that Petitioner showed at least a reasonable chance that he will face future persecution based on his political opinion, and therefore, reversal was warranted. After Petitioner, a Venezuelan native and citizen, overstayed his visa U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement commenced removal proceedings against him. An immigration judge (IJ) found Petitioner ineligible for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. The BIA and First Circuit affirmed. Seven years later, Petitioner submitted a motion to reopen his removal proceedings, arguing that conditions had materially worsened for political dissidents in Venezuela since the denial of his applications and claiming prima facie eligibility for asylum and withholding of removal relief. The BIA denied the motion, concluding that Petitioner failed to establish a material change in country conditions and rejecting Petitioner's evidence of a well-founded fear of future persecution. The First Circuit reversed, holding (1) the BIA's conclusion that country conditions in Venezuela had not worsened was arbitrary; and (2) the BIA improperly concluded that Petitioner's evidence could not establish prima facie eligibility for asylum and withholding of removal. View "Cabas v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Appellant's petition for review of the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) vacating the decision of the immigration judge (IJ) granting Appellant's application for asylum and ordering her removal, holding that the that BIA's finding that Appellant failed to establish that she suffered persecution or that she was a member of her particular social group was supported by reasonable, substantial evidence. After Appellant, a native of El Salvador, entered the United States without inspection with her two sons, Appellant sought asylum, with her sons as derivative beneficiaries, arguing that the children's father threatened her on numerous occasions. Appellant never lived with the father. In her application, Appellant argued that she had been persecuted because of her membership in the social group of "women in El Salvador unable to leave a domestic relationship." The BIA found that Appellant's harm did not rise to the level of persecution required to grant asylum and that Appellant's relationship with her ex-partner was not a "domestic" relationship. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the BIA's findings were supported by substantial evidence. View "Rivas-Duran v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed in part and denied in part Petitioner's petition for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which upheld the immigration judge's (IJ) denial of Petitioner's applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that the BIA's decision must stand. Specifically, the Court held (1) because Petitioner filed an untimely application for asylum, this Court did not have jurisdiction to review Petitioner's petition for review of the BIA's ruling on Petitioner's asylum claim; (2) Petitioner waived his challenge to the BIA's ruling affirming the IJ's denial of Petitioner's request for withholding of removal; and (3) Petitioner provided no basis for overturning the BIA's ruling on his CAT claim. View "Rodriguez-Palacios v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit dismissed Petitioner's petition for judicial review of a Board of Immigration Appeals' (BIA) decision adopting and affirming an immigration judge's (IJ) denial of Petitioner's request for withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1231(b)(3), holding that the Court lacked jurisdiction to consider Petitioner's challenge to the denial of withholding of removal. Specifically, the Court held that it lacked jurisdiction over Petitioner's arguments because (1) Petitioner's first argument was nothing more than a challenge to the BIA's determination that he did not present sufficient evidence to meet his burden for withholding of removal, which the Court lacked jurisdiction to review; and (2) Petitioner failed to exhaust his particular social group argument. View "Fabian-Soriano v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of an administrative order of removal, holding that Petitioner's arguments challenges to the removal order were unavailing. Petitioner was an Irish citizen who entered the United States as a child and had been living here for more than seven years when he was apprehended by immigration officials. The government charged him with having been admitted to the United States via the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and having stayed here beyond the ninety-day period permitted by the visa that he secured through the VWP. The government then issued a final order of removal. The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review, holding (1) the government presented sufficient evidence of Petitioner's removability; and (2) Petitioner's procedural due process challenge to the removal order failed. View "O'Riordan v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court upholding a decision of the Massachusetts Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) ruling that the Natick Public School District had complied with the "free appropriate public education" (FAPE), "least restrictive environment" (LRE), and transition requirements in proposed individualized education programs (IEP) for C.D., holding that the district court did not err. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Massachusetts law, the IEPs of certain disabled students must contain, in addition with FAPE and LRE requirements, postsecondary transition goals and services based on age-appropriate assessments. Appellants were C.D., who qualified as a child with a disability under the IDEA, and her parents. Appellants filed a complaint with the BSEA seeking reimbursement for C.D.'s tuition at a specialized private school. The BSEA denied Appellants' request. The district court affirmed. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court (1) applied the correct legal standards; (2) properly ruled that the IEPs did not violate the LRE mandate; and (3) did not err in affirming the BSEA's ruling that the IEPs complied with the statute's transition provision. View "C.D. v. Natick Public School District" on Justia Law

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In this suit brought by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts seeking to enjoin the enforcement of two federal Interim Final Rules (IFRs), the First Circuit vacated the district court's determination that Massachusetts lacked standing to challenge the IFRs, holding that the Commonwealth had standing to challenge the rules. The IFRs at issue in this case were promulgated by the United States Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury and permitted employers with religious or moral objections to contraception to obtain exemptions from providing health insurance coverage to employees and their dependents for FDA-approved contraceptive care. The district court determined that the Commonwealth failed to establish standing because it had not set forth specific facts establishing that it would likely suffer future injury from the Departments' conduct. After the Commonwealth filed its appeal, the Departments issued final rules superseding the IFRs. The First Circuit held (1) the Commonwealth's substantive challenges to the federal regulations were not moot, but its procedural challenge to the IFRs was mooted by the promulgation of the final rules; and (2) the Commonwealth had Article III standing to challenge the Departments' actions. View "Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Department of Health & Human Services" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of the denial of his motion to reopen his 2012 order of removal, holding that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) did not err in denying the petition. In his motion to reopen his order of removal Petitioner, a Guatemalan citizen, asserted that his prior counsel provided ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to file a brief with the Supreme Court in his petition for review of the BIA's denial of his previous challenge to that removal order. The BIA denied the petition, concluding that Petitioner had failed to establish either the requisite due diligence to excuse his failure to comply with the filing deadline for motions to reopen or a "likelihood of success" regarding his ineffective assistance of counsel claim. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Petitioner failed to identify anything in the record that could compel the conclusion that he had shown the requisite prejudice from the alleged ineffective assistance of counsel, on which he based his motion to reopen. View "Franco-Ardon v. Barr" on Justia Law