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Aug 31, 2021

Immigration – Ex-gang members not a ‘socially distinct’ group

Where a citizen of El Salvador argued that former members of MS-13 were socially distinct from former members of the gang who leave for moral reasons, the administrative record did not support this argument. Background German Alexander Nolasco, a native and citizen of El Salvador, petitions for review of a final order of the Board […]

Jul 30, 2021

Immigration – BIA’s ‘excessively narrow’ nexus analysis improper

Where the immigration judge focused on why a Honduran gang targeted the petitioner’s family, rather than petitioner herself, that was wrong. Because the record showed that the gang leveraged her familial relationship to her husband, as well as their familial relationships to their daughter, the nexus determination was reversed. Background Sonia Araceli Perez Vasquez and […]

Jul 30, 2021

Immigration – BIA must consider petitioner’s age at time of alleged persecution

Where the resident of El Salvador was only 15 when members of the MS-13 gang beat him and made death threats, the immigration court erred by not taking his age into account when analyzing his past persecution and fear of future persecution for purposes of asylum. Background When he was 15 years old, Hernan Portillo-Flores, […]

Jun 21, 2021

Immigration – Immigration judges have a legal duty to develop the record

In a case of first impression, the court joined other circuits in holding that immigration judges have a duty to develop the record in immigration court proceedings, especially in pro se cases. Here, a Salvadoran man’s petition for review of removal was granted based on the immigration judge’s failure to adequately probe, explain or satisfy […]

May 21, 2021

Immigration – Immigration judges may grant waivers of inadmissibility

Where a man challenged an immigration judge’s denial of a waiver of inadmissibility so he could apply for a U visa, federal regulations allow immigration judges, or IJs, to “take any action consistent with their authorities … that is appropriate and necessary for the disposition of such cases” and to take actions “consistent with applicable […]

May 21, 2021

Immigration – Removal not prevented by pardon of underlying conviction

Where a native of Ghana was pardoned for aggravated felony, drug and firearm offenses, the pardon waiver of removability is limited to the grounds listed in the statute, which does not extend to controlled substance and firearm convictions. The order for his removal was proper. Background Soloman Tetteh, a native and citizen of Ghana, was […]

May 20, 2021

Immigration – BIA conflated particularity and social distinction requirements

Where the Board of Immigration Appeals impermissibly conflated the particularity requirement with the social distinction requirement in the case of an El Salvadoran man seeking to avoid deportation on account of membership in the “former Salvadoran MS-13 members,” its determination that the particular social group was “too diffuse” to satisfy the particularity requirement was vacated. [&he[...]

Apr 2, 2021

Immigration – Asylum seekers need corroborating evidence

Where an immigration judge discounted an affidavit from a woman seeking asylum based on death threats against her and her husband in Honduras because her husband did not testify in person, that was error as an applicant needs only to submit corroborating evidence, not corroborating testimony. Background Maria Del Refugio Arita-Deras, a native and citizen […]

Mar 11, 2021

Immigration – Guatemalan gang targeted petitioner

Where the petitioner became the target of death threats by a Guatemalan gang after she and her family witnessed a mass killing by gang members and refused to yield to the gang’s extortion and other demands, she established a well-founded fear of future persecution if she returned to Guatemala. Background Anita Elizabeth Argueta Diaz de […]

Jan 20, 2021

Immigration – Consular’s decision about visa application beyond judicial review

Where the consular officer who denied a visa application cited the statutory provisions for the denial and explained her reasoning—that she found the applicant had proffered a falsified passport and lied about her age—the doctrine of consular non-reviewability barred judicial review. Background In October 2016, Anthony Sesay, a United States citizen, filed an immediate-relative petition [&hell[...]

Nov 30, 2020

Immigration – No advance notice of need for corroborating evidence

Joining the majority of courts and consistent with the Board of Immigration Appeals’ interpretation of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the INA does not require an immigration judge to give an alien seeking relief from removal advance notice of specific corroborating evidence necessary to establish his claim or to grant an automatic continuance to allow […]

Nov 11, 2020

Immigration – Domestic abuse social group violates anti-circularity

Where being in a controlling and abusive domestic relationship is a characteristic that defines the group by the fact of persecution, the Board of Immigration Appeals did not err in finding a woman’s proposed social group—married El Salvadoran women in a controlling and abusive domestic relationship—violated the anti-circularity principle. Background Maria Del Carmen Amaya-De Sicaran, [&hell[...]

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