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

Articles Posted in Immigration Law
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Petitioner sought review of the BIA's final order finding that petitioner was removable as a non-citizen convicted of two or more crimes involving moral turpitude based on its determination that New York petit larceny constitutes such a crime.The Second Circuit certified the following question to the New York State Court of Appeals: Does an intent to "appropriate" property under New York Penal Law 155.00(4)(b) require an intent to deprive the owner of his or her property either permanently or under circumstances where the owner's property rights are substantially eroded? View "Ferreiras Veloz v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision dismissing petitioner's appeal from the IJ's order removing him on the ground that he had been convicted of an aggravated felony crime of violence. The court concluded that petitioner's conviction for second-degree assault under New York Penal Law 120.05(1) is a crime of violence as defined in 18 U.S.C. 16(a). In this case, petitioner's conviction for second-degree assault meets section 16(a)'s physical force requirement because NYPL 120.05(1) requires that a defendant (1) cause a serious physical injury to another (2) with the intent to do so. The court explained that a person who causes serious physical injury with the intent to do so, in violation of NYPL 120.05(1), necessarily uses physical force. Finally, the court rejected defendant's contention that NYPL 120.05(1) is overbroad. View "Thompson v. Garland" on Justia Law

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8 U.S.C. 1151(f)(2) incorporates the age-reduction formula in 8 U.S.C. 1153(h)(1), which deducts processing time from the age of an F2A visa beneficiary. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment, holding that plaintiff's daughter was statutorily under 21 years old when plaintiff naturalized and thus the daughter qualifies for an immediate-relative visa. At issue in this appeal was whether the term "age" in section 1151(f)(2) incorporates the age-reduction formula set forth in section 1153(h)(1). Based on the text, structure, purpose, and legislative history of the Child Status Protection Act, the court held that it does. View "Cuthill v. Blinken" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law
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The Second Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision denying petitioner's application for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Petitioner sought relief after he had been threatened and beaten by gang members and police officers who urged him to join the gang. The court concluded that petitioner's negative view of gangs does not amount to a "political opinion" within the meaning of the immigration laws, and that substantial evidence supports the BIA's decision that he has not established a likelihood of future torture if he were to be removed to El Salvador. The court considered petitioner's remaining arguments and found them to be without merit. View "Zelaya-Moreno v. Wilkinson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law
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The Second Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision denying petitioner relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Petitioner argues that he was tortured in Italy when he was subjected for more than six years to solitary confinement and other restrictive conditions in Italy’s 41-bis prison regime, and that he would more likely than not be tortured if removed to Italy. The court concluded that the conditions petitioner alleged he faced or would face do not rise to the level of torture as that term is used under the CAT and its implementing regulations at 8 C.F.R. 1208.18. In this case, although the court recognized that petitioner developed various persisting mental ailments while in 41-bis detention, the court cannot agree that he faced severe mental pain and suffering of the kind envisioned in section 1208.18(a)(4)(ii) View "Gallina v. Wilkinson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law
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After NYLAG sought access to non-precedential "unpublished opinions" issued by the BIA in immigrant cases under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the district court dismissed the case and concluded that FOIA's remedial provision does not authorize district courts to order agencies to make records publicly available. NYLAG seeks disclosure of these opinions, which are not routinely made available to the public, in order to aid in its representation of low-income clients in removal and asylum proceedings.The Second Circuit vacated the district court's judgment, concluding that FOIA's remedial provision authorizes the relief NYLAG seeks. The court explained that FOIA's text, read in light of its history and purpose, empowers district courts to order agencies to comply with their affirmative disclosure obligations under 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2), including the obligation to make certain documents publicly available. Therefore, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "New York Legal Assistance Group v. Board of Immigration Appeals" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of habeas corpus relief to petitioner, who was detained pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1226(a), which provides for discretionary detention of noncitizens during the pendency of removal proceedings. The habeas petition challenged the procedures employed in petitioner's bond hearings, which required him to prove, to the satisfaction of an immigration judge, that he is neither a danger to the community nor a flight risk.The court held that the district court correctly granted the petition where petitioner was denied due process because he was incarcerated for fifteen months (with no end in sight) while the Government at no point justified his incarceration. The district court also provided the correct remedy by ordering a new bond hearing in which the Government bore the burden of showing by clear and convincing evidence that petitioner was either a danger or a flight risk. View "Velasco Lopez v. Decker" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment in favor of the government defendants in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) action brought by plaintiff, seeking documents related to the revocation of his visa.The court held that the contested documents were properly withheld under FOIA Exemption 3, and specifically INA 222(f), because they pertain to the issuance and refusal of a visa. Furthermore, officials properly invoked Exemption 3 to withhold revocation documents as they are related to visa issuances and refusals. Finally, plaintiff failed to meet his burden of demonstrating that the records are needed by a court "in the interest of the ends of justice," and the discretionary release of records under 8 U.S.C. 1202(f)(1) provides no basis for disclosure in this FOIA action. For the reasons set forth in a separate summary order addressing FOIA Exemption 5 filed simultaneously with this opinion, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Spadaro v. United States Customs and Border Protection" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's decision affirming the Board's conclusion that Aleutian violated certain statutory and regulatory requirements governing the H-1B temporary foreign worker program, and order requiring Aleutian to pay back wages to two Program workers.The court held that agency regulations duly promulgated under the statute unambiguously require H-1B employers to make wage payments in "prorated installments," "no less often than monthly." Therefore, the court concluded that an employer's failure to satisfy this requirement constitutes a failure to comply with the Immigration and Nationality Act's overall "required wage obligation"—a conclusion that supports DOL's award of back wages to Employee Gangjee.The court declined to adopt the proposed limitations on DOL's investigatory authority by holding that DOL's investigation into an H-1B Program complaint may not exceed the specific allegations of misconduct made in that complaint. Rather, the court affirmed DOL's authority to investigate Aleutian's compliance with the H-1B Program's wage requirement as to Employee Horn, as well as to Gangjee. The court stated that such an inquiry was reasonably within the scope of DOL's investigative authority into the allegations made in Gangjee's complaint and is lawfully contemplated by Program regulations. View "Aleutian Capital Partners v. Pizzella" on Justia Law

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After the government removed petitioner from the United Stated, the removal mooted the government's appeal of the district court's order directing the government to release petitioner from immigration detention. The government now moves to dismiss the appeal as moot and requests vacatur of the district court's decisions related to 8 C.F.R. 241.14(d), a regulation that the government had invoked to detain petitioner. Petitioner opposes the government's request for vacatur and separately requests vacatur of the Second Circuit's opinion granting the government's motion for a stay pending appeal.The Second Circuit held that because the district court's decisions related to 8 C.F.R. 241.14(d) could have legal consequences in future litigation between the parties, those decisions should be vacated so that "the rights of all parties are preserved." However, this court's opinion granting the government's motion for a stay pending appeal does not warrant vacatur because it does not have legal consequences for the parties. The court held that a decision concerning a stay is not a final adjudication on the merits of an appeal and lacks preclusive effect. Therefore, the court denied petitioner's motion to vacate this court's opinion granting the government's motion for a stay pending appeal, granted the government's motion to vacate the district court's decisions related to section 241.14(d), dismissed the appeal as moot, and remanded with instructions to dismiss petitioner's challenge to his detention as moot. View "Hassoun v. Searls" on Justia Law