Justia U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Immigration Law
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After Plaintiffs Moya and Ruiz applied to become naturalized citizens of the United States and the government denied their requests for disability exemptions from the civics and English testing requirements, they filed suit in federal court claiming that the naturalization process is unlawful.The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' claims, holding that the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) does not allow Moya and Ruiz to seek judicial review of their denial of their applications until after completion of the available administrative review procedures, and thus Moya and Ruiz did not exhaust their administrative remedies. The court also held that the district court correctly found that the other plaintiff in this appeal, YMPJ, had Article III standing to sue, but did not fall within the zone of interests of the INA, the Administrative Procedure Act, or the Due Process Clause. Therefore, YMPJ, a non-profit organization that assists applicants for naturalization, could not bring a cause of action on its own behalf. View "Moya v. United States Department of Homeland Security" on Justia Law

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On January, 2020, the Supreme Court stayed a preliminary injunction issued by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York enjoining DHS from implementing a final rule setting out a new agency interpretation of immigration law that expands the meaning of "public charge" in determining whether a non-citizen is admissible to the United States. While the appeal of that preliminary injunction was pending before the Second Circuit, the district court issued a new, nationwide, preliminary injunction preventing DHS from enforcing that same rule based on the COVID-19 pandemic.The Second Circuit granted DHS's motion to stay the second preliminary injunction, holding that DHS has shown a likelihood of success on the merits based primarily on the district court’s apparent lack of jurisdiction to issue the preliminary injunction during the appeal of its prior, virtually identical injunction (coupled with DHS's showing of irreparable harm resulting from its inability to enforce its regulation). The court also doubted whether the nationwide application of the injunction was proper in light of the considerations the court set forth in New York v. Dep't of Homeland Sec., which was not available to the district court at the time it issued the second injunction. Finally, the court concluded that DHS has shown irreparable injury from the district court's prohibition on effectuating the new regulation. View "New York v. Department of Homeland Security" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law
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The Second Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's decision finding petitioner removable as an aggravated felon for having been convicted of fraud involving a loss to the victims exceeding $10,000 pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii), 1101(a)(43)(M)(i). Defendant was convicted of insurance fraud and grand larceny, and was ordered to pay $77,199 in restitution without any indication as to whether the restitution order was for the benefit of victims of the insurance fraud, the grand larceny, or both.The court held that the BIA relied on inadequate analysis in concluding that the $77,199 restitution order, on its own, showed that petitioner's insurance fraud caused more than $10,000 in victim losses. In this case, where petitioner was convicted of two separate crimes and ordered to pay an overarching restitution amount without indication of what part, if any, was for the insurance fraud, the court held that the restitution order, without more, is insufficient to demonstrate that more than $10,000 in losses were caused by the insurance fraud count as distinct from the larceny count. Furthermore, the BIA gave no explanation why it concluded that more than $10,000 of the restitution award was attributable to losses caused by the insurance fraud. Accordingly, the court vacated the BIA's decision and remanded for further proceedings. View "Rampersaud v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, a group of state and local governments and a group of non-profit organizations, filed separate suits under the Administrative Procedure Act, both challenging the validity of a DHS rule interpreting 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(4), which renders inadmissible to the United States any non-citizen deemed likely to become a public charge. The district court entered orders in both cases to enjoin implementation of the rule nationwide.After determining that the States and the Organizations have Article III standing to challenge the rule and that they fall within the zone of interests of the public charge statute, the Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of a preliminary injunction enjoining the implementation of the rule. The court held that plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the rule is contrary to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The court explained that, in reenacting the public charge ground in 1996, Congress endorsed the settled administrative and judicial interpretation of that ground as requiring a holistic examination of a non-citizen's self-sufficiency focused on ability to work and eschewing any idea that simply receiving welfare benefits made one a public charge. Furthermore, the rule makes receipt of a broad range of public benefits on even a short-term basis the very definition of "public charge." Therefore, that exceedingly broad definition is not in accordance with law.The court also held that plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the rule is arbitrary and capricious. In this case, DHS has not provided a reasoned explanation for its changed definition of "public charge" or the rule's expanded list of relevant benefits. The court further held that plaintiffs have established irreparable harm, and that the balance of the equities and the public interest tips in favor of granting the injunction. However, the court modified the scope of the injunctions to cover only the states of New York, Connecticut, and Vermont. View "New York v. United States Department of Homeland Security" on Justia Law

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The district court decided that the government was not authorized under 8 C.F.R. 241.14(d) to continue holding petitioner in immigration detention pending his removal from the United States and ordered the government to release him. The government appealed and argued that section 241.14(d) is not inconsistent with its authorizing statute, 8 U.S.C. 1231(a)(6), and that it provides adequate procedural due process.The Second Circuit granted the government's motion for a stay pending appeal, holding that the government has made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits of its argument that the district court erred in holding that section 241.14(d) is inconsistent with section 1231(a)(6) and does not provide adequate procedural due process. The court also held that the government has made a strong showing of a likelihood of success on its argument that the district court erred in holding that section 241.14(d) is not a permissible reading of section 1231(a)(6). Furthermore, considerations of irreparable harm and the equities favor a stay of petitioner's release pending appeal. View "Hassoun v. Searls" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision upholding the IJ's order of removal and denial of petitioner's applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Petitioner argues that he should be granted relief from removal because he faces religious persecution if removed to China.The court identified no error in the denial of petitioner's claims where the agency's adverse credibility finding was supported by substantial evidence consisting of numerous testimonial inconsistencies and petitioner's evasive demeanor. Furthermore, the court rejected petitioner's argument that he satisfactorily explained the inconsistencies, because the explanations would not compel a reasonable factfinder to excuse the inconsistencies or credit petitioner's testimony. View "Likai Gao v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law
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The Second Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's order of removal and affirming the IJ's denial of petitioner's motion to reopen his immigration case. The court held that Pierre v. Holder, 738 F.3d 39 (2d Cir. 2013), foreclosed petitioner's claim that the application of former 8 U.S.C. 1432(a)(3) as written violates his right to equal protection. Furthermore, the Supreme Court's decision in Sessions v. Morales-Santana, 137 S. Ct. 1678 (2017). Pet. Br. at 14, did not invalidate Pierre.As to petitioner's alternative argument that the BIA must consider in the first instance whether his conviction for assault in the second degree under NYPL 120.05(2) is an aggravated felony crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. 16(a), the court held that his argument is precluded by Singh v. Barr, 939 F.3d 457 (2d Cir. 2019) (per curiam). View "Dale v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's conclusion that defendant's denial of plaintiff's application pursuant to the Child State Protection Act (CSPA) for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The district court set aside defendants' October 2017 decision denying plaintiff's adjustment of status application and directed defendants to reopen and readjudicate the application.The court held that the government is equitably estopped from initiating rescission proceedings to reopen plaintiff's adjustment of status application or placing her in removal proceedings. In this case, the undisputed facts show that USCIS failed to issue a rejection notice, despite controlling regulation and, consequently, plaintiff was not advised of any defect in her application, depriving her of the opportunity to correct the issue. View "Schwebel v. Crandall" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit granted petitions for review of the BIA's decisions ordering petitioners removed based on their New York firearms convictions. The court principally concluded that the statutes of conviction, sections 265.03 and 265.11 of the New York Penal Law, criminalize conduct involving "antique firearms" that the relevant firearms offense definitions in the Immigration and Nationality Act do not. Therefore, the court held that this categorical mismatch precludes petitioners' removal on the basis of their state convictions. Accordingly, the court vacated the BIA's decisions and remanded with instructions to terminate the removal hearings. View "Jack v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit granted a petition for review of a BIA decision dismissing petitioner's appeal of an IJ's denial, without an evidentiary hearing, of her motion to suppress evidence. The court held that the agency erred by requiring that petitioner rely on her documentary evidence alone and make a prima facie showing of an egregious Fourth Amendment violation before it would conduct a suppression hearing. The court also held that, because sworn statements and the police incident report that petitioner submitted "could support" suppression under the Cotzojay standard, she was entitled to a hearing. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Millan-Hernandez v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law