Case Categories
Hold the control key to select up to three judges and to deselect.
  • Portillo-Flores v. Barr, No. 20-1054, 2020 WL 5224452 (4th Cir. 2020)

    Holding that a finding by the BIA that his or her home country's government was not unwilling and unable to protect the Respondent is subject to the substantial evidence standard, so can only be overturned if the Court finds "any reasonable adjudicator would be compelled to conclude the contrary." Additionally holding that State Department country conditions reports are "highly probative," and that an asylum applicant's statements about fear of police must be strong and supported by evidence in order to counteract contradictory country conditions reports.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Withholding of Removal
    CAT Relief
    Asylum
    Case Judge
    Rushing
    Thacker
  • NUNEZ VASQUEZ v. BARR

    Holding that neither Virginia failure to stop after an accident (hit and run), in violation of Va. Code Ann. § 46.2-894, or identity theft, in violation of Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-186.3(B1), is a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT). The Court ruled that mere failure to comply with reporting requirements is not reprehensible conduct and rejected the Government's argument that any offense that categorically involves fraud is a CIMT. 

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    CIMT
    Case Judge
    Floyd
    Gregory
    Harris
  • GORDON v. BARR

    Holding that Virginia conviction for unlawfully discharging a firearm under Va. Code § 18.2-280(A) is not categorically a removable "firearm offense" under 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(C) because the plain language of the Virginia statute encompasses antique firearms explicitly excluded from the federal definition, rendering it unnecessary for the Petitioner to identify an actual past prosecution involving an antique firearm.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Other
    Case Judge
    Keenan
    King
    Rushing
  • CEDILLOS-CEDILLOS v. BARR

    Holding that (1) under United States v. Cortez, 930 F.3d 350 (4th Cir. 2019), absence of date and time of hearing in NTA did not deprive immigration court of jurisdiction and (2) substantial evidence supported BIA's determination that threats Petitioner experienced after witnessing a gang member murder his brother were not based on Petitioner's family membership, but were instead because he was the sole witness to the homicide. The Court further recognized nuclear family as a particular social group.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Asylum
    Procedural
    Jurisdiction
    Case Judge
    Harris
    Quattlebaum
    Richardson
  • CUCALON v. BARR

    Holding that Virginia offense of cocaine distribution as an accommodation, in violation of Va. Code § 18.2-248(D), is an aggravated felony and a crime relating to a controlled substance because the Virginia drug statute, while categorically overbroad, is divisible by controlled substance under Bah v. Barr, 950 F.3d 203 (4th Cir. 2020).

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Aggravated Felony
    Other
    Case Judge
    Gregory
    Keenan
    Richardson
  • LOPEZ ORDONEZ v. BARR

    Holding that former Guatemalan soldier who was tortured by fellow soldiers after refusing to murder innocent civilians was persecuted on account of his imputed political opinion as a defender of human rights such that he had successfully met the nexus requirement for asylum.  

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Withholding of Removal
    Asylum
    Case Judge
    Gregory
    Wilkinson
    Wynn
  • JOHN ROSE v. BARR

    Ruling that Virginia unlawful wounding, in violation of Va. Code § 18.2-51, is an aggravated felony crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. § 16(a) because the offense involves at least the “attempted or threatened” use of physical force.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Aggravated Felony
    Case Judge
    Gregory
    Wynn
    Harris
  • DESJARDIN v. BARR

    Ruling that Maryland conviction for robbery, in violation of Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 3-402, is an aggravated felony.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Aggravated Felony
    Case Judge
    Wilkinson
    Niemeyer
    Thacker
  • UNITED STATES V. PENA

    Holding that Texas burglary conviction under Tx. § 30.02 is an aggravated felony burglary offense under § 1101(a)(43)(G) even assuming it does not require an initial intent to commit a crime upon unauthorized entry. 

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Aggravated Felony
    Case Judge
    Diaz
    Quattlebaum
  • ORTEZ-CRUZ v. BARR

    Holding that, for withholding of removal, the IJ and BIA erred in finding that the government rebutted Petitioner's presumption of well-founded fear because, while the government is not required to present independent evidence to rebut the presumption, it has the burden to affirmatively prove that a past threat is no longer existent in order to show a fundamental change in circumstances or that a persecutor would not pose a threat at any point in the future to establish that Petitioner could safely internally relocate. The Court further upheld the agency's denial of CAT relief. 

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Withholding of Removal
    CAT Relief
    Case Judge
    Diaz
    Harris
    Rushing
  • BAH v. BARR

    Holding that, while Virginia's controlled substance statute encompasses a broader array of drugs than federal law, a conviction under the statute requires identification of the specific type of drug involved, rendering the statute divisible and the Petitioner's conviction under Va. Code § 18.2-250(A)(a) for possession of ethylone—a federal controlled substance—an offense relating to a controlled substance. In her dissent, Judge Thacker argues that the Virginia statute should be presumed indivisible because the evidence is at best inconclusive as to whether the specific identity of the drug, as opposed to the general type of drug, is an essential element for conviction.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Other
    Case Judge
    Richardson
    Rushing
    Thacker
  • PEREZ v. CUCCINELLI

    On rehearing en banc, pursuant to Administrative Procedure Act (APA) review, overturning USCIS's interpretation of the special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS) provision to require a permanent custody order on the basis that such interpretation was not entitled to deference, defied the plain statutory language, and impermissibly intruded into issues of state domestic relations law. Judge Quattlebaum wrote a dissenting opinion.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Other Relief
    SIJS
    Case Judge
    Gregory
    King
    Quattlebaum
  • CANALES-RIVERA v. BARR

    Holding that IJ and BIA did not violate Petitioner's due process rights in denying his "merchant in the formal Honduran economy"-based asylum claim because, while the IJ mischaracterized the particular social group at issue, the BIA cured the deficiency by properly analyzing Petitioner's proposed group and rejecting it based on lack of immutability in accordance with Matter of Acosta.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Due Process
    Immigration Proceedings
    Fear-Based Relief
    Withholding of Removal
    Asylum
    Procedural
    Jurisdiction
    Case Judge
    Agee
    Quattlebaum
    Thacker
  • TAKANG v. BARR

    Holding that BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying Petitioner's second motion to reopen because Petitioner failed to submit a concurrent asylum application demonstrating changed circumstances, as required by 8 C.F.R. § 1003.2(c)(1), and rejecting Petitioner's procedural due process argument because denying Petitioner discretionary relief did not deprive her of a constitutionally protected liberty or property interest. 

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Due Process
    Fear-Based Relief
    Withholding of Removal
    Asylum
    Motions to Reopen/Reconsider
    Case Judge
    Agee
    Quattlebaum
    Traxler
  • MARROQUIN v. BARR

    Holding that Romero v. Barr, 937 F.3d 282, 294 (4th Cir. 2019) (ruling that IJs and the BIA have authority to administratively close cases) invalidated the BIA's rationale for rejecting Petitioner's arguments for administrative closure and remanding for further proceedings consistent with Romero.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Procedural
    Administrative Closure
    Case Judge
    Agee
    Floyd
    Thacker
  • MOORE v. FRAZIER

    Holding that (1) Court had jurisdiction to determine whether I-130 petitions pending at the time of passage of legislation changing eligibility criteria should be processed under the former or the amended version of the statute but (2) USCIS’s decision to apply the amended version of the statute to I-130 petitions filed before the passage of the amendments was not an abuse of discretion under the APA.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Other Relief
    Case Judge
    Agee
    Niemeyer
    Wilkinson
  • KOUAMBO v. BARR

    Holding that, when the BIA remands a case to the IJ for background checks, the BIA decision is not a final order of removal for purposes of judicial review and thus the Court lacked jurisdiction over the petition for review under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(1).

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Jurisdiction
    Procedural
    Case Judge
    Diaz
    Niemeyer
    Wilkinson
  • BANGURA v. BARR

    Holding that, pursuant to APA review, (1) USCIS's denial of I-130 Petition for Alien Relative on the basis that Plaintiff had entered into a prior marriage for immigration benefit was supported by substantial evidence, (2) Court could not reweigh evidence, and (3) Plaintiffs failed to cite any legal error in USCIS's investigation of prior marriage.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Other Relief
    Case Judge
    Agee
    Quattlebaum
    Traxler
  • GUZMAN CHAVEZ v. HOTT

    Holding that immigrants with reinstated removal orders pending withholding-only proceedings are detained pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1226, not 8 U.S.C. § 1231, and as such, are entitled to individual bond hearings. Judge Richardson's dissent contends that 8 U.S.C. § 1231 governs the detention of immigrants with reinstated orders of removal and thus Petitioners are not entitled to a bond hearing.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Due Process
    Detention
    Case Judge
    Floyd
    Harris
    Richardson
  • ROMERO v. BARR

    Holding that 8 C.F.R. §§ 1003.10(b) and 1003.1(d)(1)(ii) confer on Immigration Judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals the general authority to administratively close cases, and thus the Attorney General's interpretation of those statutory provisions in Matter of Castro-Tum, 27 I. & N. Dec. 271 (A.G. 2018) was in error.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Procedural
    Administrative Closure
    Case Judge
    Agee
    Floyd
    Thacker
  • AGUILAR-AVILA v. BARR

    Permitting Petitioner to allege membership in a particular social group not raised in her opening brief due to her attorney's "poor performance" and holding that the Board committed reversible error by (1) failing to explain why Petitioner's purported particular social group did not pass muster; (2) erroneously requiring that Petitioner establish that she could not reasonably relocate in evaluating the existence of past persecution; and (3) failing to address Petitioner's testimony that she sought the help of police but was turned away in determining government acquiesence.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Asylum
    Withholding of Removal
    CAT Relief
    Procedural
    Jurisdiction
    Case Judge
    King
    Motz
    Thacker
  • PEREZ-MORALES v. BARR

    Holding that (1) the BIA's determination that Petitioner was ineligible for asylum and withholding because he failed to show nexus between his past harm and membership in the proposed PSGs of "witnesses of crimes committed by the Zetas" and family of his brother was not supported by substantial evidence; (2) the BIA erred when it found that Petitioner could safely relocate within Guatemala; and (3) the BIA must reconsider the government acquiescence element of Petitioner's CAT claim in light of recent Fourth Circuit precedent.   

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Asylum
    Withholding of Removal
    Case Judge
    Diaz
    Thacker
    Wynn
  • UNITED STATES v. VILLARREAL SILVA

    Holding that (1) when expedited removal is alleged to be an element in a criminal prosecution under 8 U.S.C. § 1326, the defendant must, as a matter of due process, be able to challenge the element if he did not have a prior opportunity to do so, and thus the jurisdiction-stripping provision in 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(1)(D) is unconstitutional, but (2) the Defendant in the instant case failed to establish that the expedited removal procedure was fundamentally unfair because he did not demonstrate prejudice.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Due Process
    Immigration Proceedings
    Procedural
    Jurisdiction
    Illegal Entry/Reentry
    Case Judge
    Keenan
    Niemeyer
    Quattlebaum
  • CABRERA v. BARR

    Holding that (1) Petitioner exhausted his administrative remedies because the BIA had ruled definitively on the sole issue raised in the petition for review, and (2) the Virginia offense of participating in criminal street gang activity, in violation of Va. Code § 18.2-46.2(A), is not categorically a crime involving moral turpitude.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    CIMT
    Procedural
    Jurisdiction
    Case Judge
    Agee
    Harris
    Motz
  • ZAMBRANO REYES v. BARR

    Holding that (1) the fact that Notice to Appear did not provide time and date of hearing did not deprive the immigration court of jurisdiction over Petitioner's proceedings and (2) Board did not abuse its discretion in denying Petitioner's motion to reopen based on eligibility for VAWA relief because Petitioner failed to establish that alleged battery was a central reason for his failure to comply with terms of voluntary departure.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Procedural
    Jurisdiction
    Motions to Reopen/Reconsider
    Case Judge
    Motz
    Agee
    Harris
  • UNITED STATES v. CORTEZ

    Holding that (1) non-citizen could not collaterally attack his prior removal order in subsequent illegal reentry criminal proceedings because the conditions prescribed by 8  U.S.C. § 1326(d) were not met; (2) the lack of date and time in the notice to appear (NTA) did not implicate immigration court’s adjudicatory authority; and (3) the date and time for subsequent removal hearing need not be included in NTA to initiate removal proceedings.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Due Process
    Immigration Proceedings
    Procedural
    Jurisdiction
    Illegal Entry/Reentry
    Case Judge
    Agee
    Harris
    Motz
  • DIAZ-VELASQUEZ v. BARR

    Holding that the record compelled the conclusion that Petitioner's membership in his family, a particular social group, was at least one central reason that gang members who were trying to extort Petitioner's family attacked and threatened him.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Withholding of Removal
    Case Judge
    Harris
    Richardson
    Quattlebaum
  • ALVAREZ LAGOS v. BARR

    Holding that (1) BIA failed to consider relevant evidence in determining that Petitioner failed to show nexus, (2) Petitioner's membership in proposed PSG of "unmarried mothers living under control of gangs" and imputed anti-gang political opinion were one central reason for her harm, (3) IJ erred in finding that Petitioner's proposed PSG did not satisfy particularity and social distinction requirements and that she did not establish an imputed political opinion, and (4) IJ and BIA failed to meaningfully engage with evidence regarding likelihood of torture and acquiescence for CAT relief.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Asylum
    Withholding of Removal
    CAT Relief
    Case Judge
    Gregory
    Diaz
    Harris
  • ORELLANA v. BARR

    Holding that, for Petitioner's applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT protection, the agency disregarded and distorted important aspects of Petitioner’s testimony in concluding that Salvadoran government was willing and able to protect her from her abuser.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Asylum
    Withholding of Removal
    CAT Relief
    Case Judge
    Motz
    King
    Wynn
  • THOMPSON v. BARR

    Holding that taking custodial indecent liberties with a child under Va. Code § 18.2-370.1(A) constitutes a "sexual abuse of a minor" aggravated felony. 

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Aggravated Felony
    Case Judge
    Wilkinson
    Keenan
    Richardson
  • UPATCHA v. BARR

    Holding that, following remand, the agency properly denied Petitioner's application for an INA § 216a(c)(4)(B) good faith marriage waiver because (1) the Court lacked jurisdiction to consider the agency's adverse credibility determination and weighing of evidence, (2) Petitioner failed to submit sufficient evidence to satisfy the statutory standard for a good faith marriage, and (3) the Immigration Judge did not violate Petitioner's due process rights at the merits hearing.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Waivers
    216a(c)(4)(B)
    Procedural
    Jurisdiction
    Due Process
    Immigration Proceedings
    Case Judge
    Diaz
    Harris
    Traxler
  • UNITED STATES v. GUZMAN-VELASQUEZ

    Holding that district courts have jurisdiction to review immigration determinations when they constitute a collateral challenge in a criminal proceeding and declining to reach whether a collateral challenge to a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) determination in a criminal proceeding is permissible because the Petitioner failed to assert a due process violation that would render the 2002 adjudication of his TPS application fundamentally unfair.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Due Process
    Immigration Proceedings
    Procedural
    Jurisdiction
    Other Relief
    TPS
    Case Judge
    Motz
    Quattlebaum
    Duncan
  • CABRERA VASQUEZ v. BARR

    Ruling that Board’s failure to fully consider Petitioner’s testimony regarding government acquiescence warranted remand of CAT claim.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    CAT Relief
    Case Judge
    Gregory
    Wynn
    Thacker
  • DUNCAN v. BARR

    Holding that the questions of (1) whether the government would acquiesce in torture for the purpose of CAT relief and (2) whether the Petitioner was in the "physical custody" of his father for purpose of derivation of citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 are mixed questions of fact and law subject to de novo review by the Board of Immigration Appeals.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    CAT Relief
    Procedural
    Standards of Review
    Case Judge
    Motz
    Duncan
    Quattlebaum
  • MIRA-AVILA v. BARR

    Rejecting Petitioner's challenge to reinstatement of his prior removal order because, although there was no IJ removal order in the record, there was ample other evidence in the record to support a finding that the Petitioner had been ordered removed to Honduras in 2009, including fingerprint data that DHS proffered but did not enter into evidence.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Procedural
    Other
    Credibility/Corroboration
    Case Judge
    King
    Keenan
    Wynn
  • ROMERO v. BARR

    Holding that because Petitioner's record of conviction was inconclusive as to whether his 1985 conviction for “sell[ing]/furnish[ing]/etc. marijuana, hash” in violation of Cal. Health & Safety Code § 11360(a) (West 1975) constituted an aggravated felony, he failed to establish eligibility for special rule cancellation of removal under NACARA.  

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Aggravated Felony
    Other Relief
    NACARA
    Case Judge
    Wilkinson
    King
    Traxler
  • RODRIGUEZ-ARIAS v. WHITAKER

    Holding that the agency legally erred in denying Petitioner CAT relief because it (1) failed to aggregate Petitioner's risk of torture from all three of the entities that Petitioner feared and determine whether that sum exceeded 50% and (2) did not meaningfully engage with or consider country conditions evidence as a whole.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    CAT Relief
    Case Judge
    Floyd
    Harris
    Coggins*
  • CRUZ-QUINTANILLA v. WHITAKER

    Holding that (1) because the Petitioner was removable based on his commission of an aggravated felony or specific firearm offense, whether Petitioner established, for CAT relief, that the government would acquiesce in his torture is a mixed question of law and fact that falls outside of the Fourth Circuit's jurisdiction and (2) the Immigration Judge’s determination that Petitioner failed to establish government acquiescence is subject to de novo review by the BIA.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Aggravated Felony
    Other
    Fear-Based Relief
    CAT Relief
    Procedural
    Jurisdiction
    Standards of Review
    Case Judge
    Motz
    Keenan
    Harris
  • MORALES v. SESSIONS

    Holding that a non-citizen's conviction under 8 U.S.C. § 1325(a) constitutes clear and convincing evidence that he engaged in alien smuggling, thus rendering him removable because he was inadmissible at the time of his adjustment to LPR status, and ineligible for an INA § 237(a)(1)(H) waiver of inadmissibility.  

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Other
    Waivers
    237(a)(1)(H)
    Case Judge
    King
    Shedd
    Thacker
  • SANMARTIN PRADO v. WHITAKER

    Upholding the Board of Immigration Appeals’ finding that Maryland second-degree child abuse pursuant to Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 3-601(a)(2), (d) is categorically a crime of child abuse, child neglect, or child abandonment under 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(E)(i).

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Other
    Case Judge
    Gregory
    Keenan
    Harris
  • CORTEZ-MENDEZ v. WHITAKER

    Holding that Petitioner failed to show nexus because he presented no evidence that gangs harassed him in El Salvador on account of his father’s disability.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Withholding of Removal
    Case Judge
    Wilkinson
    Agee
    Jones*
  • SANGI v. WHITAKER

    Ruling that the BIA correctly denied Petitioner's motion to reopen on the basis of reinvigorating her previous claim of past persecution and asserting an individualized fear of future persecution, but that the BIA abused its discretion by failing to address Petitioner's new "pattern or practice" argument and new Cameroonian country conditions evidence indicating increased violence against Anglophones.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Asylum
    Withholding of Removal
    CAT Relief
    Motions to Reopen/Reconsider
    Case Judge
    King
    Diaz
    Hamilton
  • MING FANG CHEN v. WHITAKER

    Holding that, although the BIA failed to consider materially changed country conditions, namely the worsening oppression of Chinese Christians, the BIA did not err when it denied Petitioners' second motion to reopen because Petitioners did not establish prima facie eligibility for asylum, withholding, or protection under CAT.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Asylum
    Withholding of Removal
    CAT Relief
    Motions to Reopen/Reconsider
    Case Judge
    King
    Diaz
    Richardson
  • LOPEZ-ORELLANA v. WHITAKER

    Holding that the IJ and the BIA erred when they found that a lack of physical harm indicated that a Honduran asylum-seeker who had received multiple death threats had not suffered past persecution.  

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Asylum
    Withholding of Removal
    CAT Relief
    Case Judge
    King
    Keenan
    Gibney*
  • MAURICIO-VASQUEZ v. WHITAKER

    Holding that, in proving Petitioner's removability based on his commission of a crime involving moral turpitude within five years of his admission to the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had the burden of affirmatively establishing date of Petitioner's admission by clear and convincing evidence, and DHS failed to establish that Petitioner committed crime within five years of his admission.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    CIMT
    Procedural
    Other
    Case Judge
    Niemeyer
    Diaz
    Floyd
  • TAIROU v. WHITAKER

    Holding that the Board of Immigration Appeals abused its discretion in finding that Petitioner was not subjected to past persecution where binding precedent explicitly holds that a threat of death constitutes persecution and recognizing "homosexuals in Benin" as a particular social group.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Asylum
    Withholding of Removal
    Case Judge
    Gregory
    Motz
    Osteen*
  • HERCULES-TORRES v. WHITAKER

    Holding that, where the Immigration Judge made an explicit finding that the persecutor's motive was not on account of a protected ground, the issue of persecutor’s motive is a factual finding that the BIA reviews for clear error that does not authorize de novo review at the circuit court. Declining to reach whether Matter of C-T-L-, 25 I&N Dec. 341 (BIA 2010) (extending the “one central reason” standard for asylum to withholding of removal) is legally flawed because the argument was foreclosed by the Immigration Judge's factual finding on the persecutor's motive. Upholding denial of relief under the Convention against Torture because the BIA applied the correct clear error standard of review to the likelihood of torture, a fact-based determination, and the BIA's determination was supported by substantial evidence.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Withholding of Removal
    CAT Relief
    Asylum
    Procedural
    Standards of Review
    Case Judge
    Gibney*
    Keenan
    King
  • TOFU v. WHITAKER

    Holding that (1) the Immigration Judge's adverse credibility determination was supported by substantial evidence; (2) the Immigration Judge did not err by improperly discounting the Petitioner's corroborating evidence when denying his application for asylum; (3) the Immigration Judge did not err, on remand, by conducting an additional hearing and taking oral testimony before denying Petitioner's application for asylum; and (4) the Immigration Judge's determination that the Petitioner did not demonstrate a likelihood that he would be tortured if returned to Bangladesh was supported by substantial evidence.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Withholding of Removal
    CAT Relief
    Asylum
    Procedural
    Credibility/Corroboration
    Case Judge
    Gregory
    Motz
    Osteen*
  • HENRIQUEZ DIMAS v. SESSIONS

    Vacating and remanding BIA's determination that Maryland conviction for a fourth degree sex offense under Md. § 3-308(b)(1) was a crime involving moral turpitude because the BIA's decision relied on Matter of Jimenez-Cedillo, which had been overruled at the time. 

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    CIMT
    Case Judge
    Duncan
    Motz
    Thacker
  • RAMOS NUNES v. SESSIONS

    Holding that the BIA did not err when it reversed the IJ's grant of protection under the Convention Against Torture, because Petitioner did not show that she would more likely than not be tortured if returned to El Salvador. 

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    CAT Relief
    Case Judge
    Duncan
    Motz
    Thacker
  • SHAW v. SESSIONS

    Holding that (1) Petitioner's conviction for conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute, in violation of New Jersey's general conspiracy statute, N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:5-2, constituted a federal controlled substance offense, which rendered Petitioner inadmissible, (2) the Board was permitted to consider Petitioner's indictment as evidence of his conviction, and (3) Court lacked jurisdiction to consider Petitioner's unexhausted argument that DHS did not carry its burden of establishing removability because the indictment considered by the Board was not the indictment to which he pled guilty.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Other
    Procedural
    Jurisdiction
    Case Judge
    Gregory
    Wilkinson
    Agee
  • MBALLA BOUBA v. SESSIONS

    Holding that (1) an IJ requiring an asylum-seeker to produce corroboration of her religion-based claim in the form of an affidavit from her husband was not an abuse of discretion, (2) a Muslim militiaman yelling at the Christian asylum-seeker to stop praying did not constitute past persecution, and (3) the asylum-seeker had demonstrated no well-founded fear of future persecution largely because the Central African Republic is majority Christian. The dissent in this case argues that the agency abused its discretion for several reasons, including failing to consider important country conditions information supporting the asylum-seeker's well-founded fear.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Withholding of Removal
    Asylum
    Procedural
    Credibility/Corroboration
    Case Judge
    Agee
    Gregory
    Wilkinson
  • SHENG DA DONG v. SESSIONS

    Holding that substantial evidence did not support the Board of Immigration Appeals' determination that the government had established a fundamental change in circumstances to rebut the Petitioner's well-founded fear of persecution for asylum and withholding of removal, and that the agency erred in placing the burden on Petitioner to prove that he could not avoid future persecution through internal relocation, rather than the government to show that he could avoid future persecution by relocating.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Asylum
    Withholding of Removal
    Procedural
    Other
    Case Judge
    Thacker
    Harris
    Shedd
  • GUZMAN GONZALES v. SESSIONS

    Holding that the imposition of $100 in court costs, assessed attendant to a prayer for judgment continued under North Carolina law, does not qualify as a penalty or punishment to constitute a “conviction” within the meaning of the Immigration and Naturalization Act under 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(48)(A) and thus, Petitioner was not statutorily barred from cancellation of removal for nonpermanent residents.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Other
    Other Relief
    Non-LPR Cancellation
    Case Judge
    Floyd
    Harris
    Wynn
  • MARTINEZ v. SESSIONS

    Holding that Maryland consolidated theft, Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 7-104, is not a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) because it punishes de minimis, or minor, takings and is indivisible.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    CIMT
    Case Judge
    Niemeyer
    Traxler
    Keenan
  • ALDUNATE MORALES v. SESSIONS

    Holding that the BIA did not err in concluding that Petitioner's felony failure to appear conviction under Virginia Code § 19.2-128(B) constitutes an aggravated felony, which rendered him deportable.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Aggravated Felony
    Case Judge
    Agee
    Duncan
    Shedd
  • GUEVARA-SOLORZANO v. SESSIONS

    Holding that (1) Petitioner's Tennessee conviction for unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, in violation of Tenn. Code § 39-17-417, constitutes both an aggravated felony and a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) and Court thus lacked jurisdiction to review BIA's denial of Petitioner's motion to reopen, (2) Petitioner was ineligible for § 212(c) waiver because one of the CIMT convictions that rendered him removable occurred after the repeal of § 212(c), and (3) Petitioner was ineligible for cancellation of removal for LPRs due to aggravated felony conviction.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Aggravated Felony
    CIMT
    Other Relief
    LPR Cancellation
    Motions to Reopen/Reconsider
    Procedural
    Jurisdiction
    Case Judge
    Niemeyer
    King
    Brinkema*
  • ENANG v. SESSIONS

    Holding that the Maryland offense of conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance is divisible; as such, the IJ and the BIA properly utilized the modified categorical approach to find that a noncitizen's conviction constituted a controlled substance offense that rendered him removable under 8 U.S.C. § 1227. 

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Other
    Case Judge
    Keenan
    Shedd
    Wynn
  • RODRIGUEZ-MANCIAS v. SESSIONS

    Holding that a Salvadoran non-citizen was not a member of the particular social group, "nuclear family of his ex-girlfriend's daughter," even though he financially provided for the daughter for all of her life, because (1) he is not the biological father of the child and (2) it was widely known in his community that he was not the biological father of the child, thus failing to satisfy the social visibility prong.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Withholding of Removal
    Asylum
    Case Judge
    Niemeyer
    King
    Brinkema*
  • LARA-AGUILAR v. SESSIONS

    Holding that, pursuant to Mejia v. Sessions, 866 F.3d 573, 584 (4th Cir. 2017) and 8 U.S.C. § 1231(a)(5), Petitioner, who was subjected to a reinstated order of removal, could not apply for asylum, even though the factual basis for his asylum claim did not exist prior to his removal.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Asylum
    Procedural
    Other
    Case Judge
    Traxler
    King
    Harris
  • ATSEYINKU v. SESSIONS

    Holding that the Board of Immigration Appeals did not abuse its discretion in denying (1) Petitioner's motion to reconsider the conclusion that Petitioner had abandoned her status as a lawful permanent resident based on her extended trips to her home country and (2) Petitioner's motion to reopen because the evidence Petitioner sought to present could have been previously presented and would not have changed the outcome of the case.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Motions to Reopen/Reconsider
    Case Judge
    Wilkinson
    Traxler
    Brinkema*
  • RAMIREZ v. SESSIONS

    Holding that (1) Petitioner administratively exhausted issue of whether offense was a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) despite making more nuanced points and citing new cases for the first time on petition for review and (2) Virginia obstruction of justice pursuant to Va. Code Ann. § 18.2- 460(A) does not constitute a CIMT because it does not categorically involve turpitudinous conduct, and (3) ordering Government to facilitate Petitioner's return to the United States to restore him to his pre-removal status and effectuate judicial review.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    CIMT
    Procedural
    Jurisdiction
    Case Judge
    Gregory
    Motz
    Traxler
  • ROMERO-DONADO v. SESSIONS

    Holding that, for purposes of CAT relief, generalized expert and country conditions evidence is insufficient to establish probability of torture and government acquiescence to torture by Salvadoran gangs.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    CAT Relief
    Case Judge
    Duncan
    Keenan
    Diaz
  • REYES v. CISSNA

    Holding that USCIS did not abuse its discretion when it denied a Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) application because the applicant provided a temporary rather than a permanent custody order that did not reflect the state court's factual findings, even though the applicant later submitted a second permanent custody order that complied with USCIS requirements. 

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Other Relief
    SIJS
    Case Judge
    Duncan
    Agee
    Brinkema*
  • SANCHEZ-SALAZAR v. SESSIONS

    Holding that Petitioner's South Carolina domestic violence conviction constitutes a crime of violence under 8 U.S.C. § 16(a) and thus rendered him ineligible for cancellation of removal.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Other
    Case Judge
    Motz
    Wilkinson
    Traxler
  • SANCHEZ v. SESSIONS

    Declining to apply full exclusionary rule to immigration proceedings and upholding agency's denial of Petitioner's motion to suppress statements he made to police officers and ICE agents admitting that he was without status because Petitioner failed to establish an egregious Fourth Amendment or due process violation.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Due Process
    Detention
    Case Judge
    Diaz
    Motz
    Conrad*
  • AMIN v. SESSIONS

    Holding that the Immigration Judge did not abuse his discretion or violate due process in denying a continuance after Petitioner retained new counsel, and upholding the Immigration Judge's denial of Petitioner's application for an 8 U.S.C. § 1186a(c)(4)(B) good faith marriage waiver because (1) the Court lacked jurisdiction to review the agency’s weighing of evidence, (2) the Board applied the correct standard of review, and (3) Petitioner’s evidence failed to satisfy the statutory standard for a good faith marriage.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Due Process
    Immigration Proceedings
    Procedural
    Jurisdiction
    Standards of Review
    Case Judge
    Agee
    Keenan
    Shedd
  • JIMENEZ-CEDILLO v. SESSIONS

    Ruling that Board erred in concluding that Maryland sexual solicitation of a minor, Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 3-324, is a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT), where, after Petitioner pled guilty to the offense, the Board reversed its prior precedent to hold that offense was a CIMT without acknowledging or explaining its change in position.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    CIMT
    Procedural
    Other
    Case Judge
    Thacker
    Harris
    Shedd
  • REALEGENO v. SESSIONS

    Ruling that substantial evidence supports the IJ and BIA finding that a Salvadoran non-citizen had failed to establish the requisite nexus for withholding of removal because he did not show that extortion letters from gang members were on account of his status as a former police officer. 

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Withholding of Removal
    Case Judge
    Keenan
    Motz
    Traxler
  • SANTOS MEJIA v. SESSIONS

    Ruling that the proposed particular social group "Honduran women evading rape and extortion" is not legally cognizable because it does not meet the particularity and social visibility requirements. 

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Asylum
    Case Judge
    King
    Floyd
    Thacker
  • MARUBE v. SESSIONS

    Holding that the agency abused its discretion when it failed to consider all of the In re Hashmi factors in denying a non-citizen's motion for a continuance due to DHS's delay in adjudicating an I-130 petition filed by the non-citizen's husband.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Due Process
    Immigration Proceedings
    Procedural
    Other
    Case Judge
    Traxler
    Keenan
    Thacker
  • SALGADO-SOSA v. SESSIONS

    Ruling that (1) for withholding of removal, Petitioner’s family relationship was a central reason for Petitioner's persecution, which resulted from Petitioner's stepfather’s actions to protect family from gang, (2) remand was required to consider whether, pursuant to Zambrano v. Sessions, 878 F.3d 84 (4th Cir. 2017), Petitioner demonstrated changed circumstances in the form of the intensification of a preexisting threat of persecution to excuse the untimeliness of his asylum application, and (3) substantial evidence supported the agency's denial of CAT relief.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Withholding of Removal
    CAT Relief
    Asylum
    Procedural
    Other
    Case Judge
    Floyd
    Gregory
    Harris
  • MOLINA MENDOZA v. SESSIONS

    Holding that the agency did not adequately explain its factual determinations in denying asylum to an LGBTQ Mexican asylum-seeker because it failed to (1) consider whether there is a pattern or practice of harm against LGBTQ individuals in Mexico rising to the level of persecution and (2) give reasons for discounting record evidence that contradicted its conclusion that the asylum-seeker did not have an objectively reasonable fear of return to Mexico.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Unpublished
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Asylum
    Case Judge
    Floyd
    Gregory
    Harris
  • VELASQUEZ v. SESSIONS

    Holding that Petitioner failed to establish nexus to a protected ground for her claim based on a child custody dispute with her mother-in-law, a solely personal conflict among family members.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Withholding of Removal
    Asylum
    Case Judge
    Agee
    Traxler
    Wilkinson
  • ZAVALETA-POLICIANO v. SESSIONS

    Holding that, in denying asylum and withholding of removal, agency erred in concluding that gang's extortion and threats were not on account of Petitioner's relationship to her father and agency failed to address key evidence showing nexus.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Withholding of Removal
    Asylum
    Case Judge
    Davis
    Gregory
    Wilkinson
  • CASTENDET-LEWIS v. SESSIONS

    Holding that Virginia statutory burglary conviction under Va. Code § 18.2-91 is categorically not an aggravated felony burglary offense under 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(G) because the statute is indivisible, containing several alternative means for committing the offense, and overbroad, encompassing lawful entry and entry without force.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Aggravated Felony
    Case Judge
    Davis
    Gregory
    King
  • SOTNIKAU v. LYNCH

    Holding that Virginia involuntary manslaughter under Va. Code § 18.2-36 is not a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) because it requires only failure to perceive risk (criminal negligence) rather than conscious disregard of risk (gross negligence). 

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    CIMT
    Case Judge
    Agee
    King
    Niemeyer
  • LARIOS-REYES v. LYNCH

    Holding that Maryland conviction for sexual contact with a minor under Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 3-307(a)(3) is categorically not an aggravated felony under the "sexual abuse of a minor" prong because the statute broadly encompasses physically abusive conduct not included within the federal generic definition of "sexual abuse of a minor."

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Aggravated Felony
    Case Judge
    Gregory
    Harris
    Niemeyer
  • OLIVA v. LYNCH

    Holding that (1) Petitioner was persecuted on account of his membership in the group "former gang members, who left the gang without its permission for moral and religious reasons," and (2) the BIA failed to adequately address evidence put forth by Petitioner with regard to the cognizability of the asserted particular social group, requiring remand. 

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Withholding of Removal
    Asylum
    Case Judge
    Davis
    Diaz
    Wynn
  • HERNANDEZ-AVALOS v. LYNCH

    Holding that (1) BIA's finding of a lack of nexus in family-based asylum claim rested on an erroneous distinction between gang threats on account of Petitioner's relationship to her son and gang threats intended to coerce Petitioner into permitting her son to join the gang and (2) BIA improperly distorted and disregarded Petitioner's testimony regarding the gang's influence over the local police in finding that the Salvadoran government was not unable and unwilling to protect her.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Withholding of Removal
    Asylum
    Case Judge
    Shedd
    Thacker
    Wynn
  • ILUNGA v. HOLDER

    Holding that adverse credibility finding made by IJ and affirmed by BIA was not supported by substantial evidence because it (1) relied on inconsistencies that were likely the result of flawed courtroom interpretation, (2) failed to adequately consider how past trauma may have caused Petitioner's abnormal demeanor, and (3) disregarded corroborating documentation that ameliorated inconsistencies and independently supported the claim.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Due Process
    Immigration Proceedings
    Fear-Based Relief
    Withholding of Removal
    CAT Relief
    Asylum
    Procedural
    Credibility/Corroboration
    Case Judge
    Floyd
    Gregory
    Thacker
  • TEMU v. HOLDER

    Holding that (1) Petitioner was persecuted by nurses and prison guards on account of his membership in the particular social group of "individuals with bipolar disorder who exhibit erratic behavior" and (2) the particular social group is cognizable and meets the requirements of immutability, particularity, and social visibility. Judge Agee dissented.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Fear-Based Relief
    Withholding of Removal
    CAT Relief
    Asylum
    Case Judge
    Agee
    Gregory
    King
  • KARIMI v. HOLDER

    Holding that (1) "physical force" in the term "crime of violence" in 18 U.S.C. § 16(a) connotes violent force capable of causing physical pain or injury and (2) Maryland second degree assault under Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 3-203 is not categorically a crime of violence because it does not require the use of violent force. Judge King dissented.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Aggravated Felony
    Case Judge
    Diaz
    King
    Wynn
  • PRUDENCIO v. HOLDER

    Rejecting the Matter of Silva-Trevino, 24 I&N Dec. 687 (A.G. 2008) framework and holding that (1) courts analyzing whether a criminal conviction qualifies as a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) cannot review criminal documents beyond those they are explicitly authorized to consider under the categorical and modified categorical approaches and (2) a conviction for sexual intercourse with a minor under Va. Code § 18.2-371 is not a CIMT when the record of conviction does not reveal the subsection under which the individual was convicted because the statute encompasses non-turpitudinous conduct. Judge Shedd dissented.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    CIMT
    Case Judge
    Keenan
    Shedd
    Traxler
  • BEJARANO-URRUTIA v. GONZALEZ

    Holding that Virginia conviction for involuntary manslaughter under Va. Code § 18.2-36 is not an aggravated felony crime of violence because the conviction's required element of general recklessness does connote recklessness as to whether force will be used.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Aggravated Felony
    Case Judge
    Niemeyer
    Shedd
  • WIREKO v. RENO

    Holding that Virginia conviction for misdemeanor sexual battery under Va. Code 18.2-67.4 is categorically an aggravated felony crime of violence.

    Date of Decision
    Publication Status
    Published
    Case Categories
    Criminal-Immigration Consequences
    Aggravated Felony
    Case Judge
    Motz