Immigration Law News - U.S. First Circuit
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Political Activism Not Enough to Overturn BIA Decision: 1st Cir.

Ming Chen, a political activist and citizen of the People's Republic of China, entered and stayed in the U.S. illegally. In 1998, Chen submitted an application for asylum and withholding of removal, but an immigration judge denied the application. Yet somehow, Chen managed to stay in the U.S. for another nine years ...

... until he resurfaced in 2011 to file a motion to reopen his removal proceedings.

Political Asylum May Protect Lawyer's Link to Political Client

A former lawyer in Pakistan who overstayed his U.S. visa was denied his political asylum petition for withholding of removal and his Convention Against Torture petition by both an immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals. The First Circuit granted, in part, his petition for witholding of removal and remanded it to the BIA for further proceedings. However, his CAT petition was denied for lack of evidence of torture.

Mohammed Ilyas Javed was a lawyer in Pakistan representing a local political party, the Hunj group. Some members of the group were injured in a shooting involving another local party, the Batore group. These groups were subsidiaries of the ruling national Pakistan party. The two groups were in a dispute over a supposed rigged election. Javed soon experienced threats and harm based on the mistaken affiliation to the Hunj group.

This week, the First Circuit Court of Appeals reminded us to dot all the i's and cross all the t's when filling out immigration documents.

Jin Qing Wu, a Chinese citizen, entered the U.S. without inspection back in 1999. In 2007, Wu married a U.S. citizen and filed an application to adjust his status to lawful permanent resident.

Since Wu entered the country without inspection, however, there was an additional requirement he had to meet.

It's been a big year for immigration law. Many of the First Circuit Court of Appeals' most noteworthy decisions this year have dealt with asylum and what it takes to obtain "refugee" status.

Below, we've included three of the most interesting asylum rulings the appellate court has issued this year.

Court Cites Morton Memo in Stay of Removal

Ashot, Vergine, and Haik Gasparian are citizens and natives of Armenia. The Gasparians entered the U.S. in the early 90s, and overstayed their visitors' visas. They admit they never intended to return to Armenia, where they had received threats due to Ashot's business dealings with an Azerbaijani man in the late 70s.

In 1994, Ashot filed a request for asylum and withholding of removal for the family. The immigration judge (IJ) denied the Gasparians' applications in 1995, expressing doubt about harassment through the early 90s for business activities ending in 1978. The IJ concluded, in any event, that the threats did not lead to harm nor were the threateners connected to the government.

Guerilla Recruitment Target Doesn't Qualify for Asylum

An asylum applicant won't win an immigration appeal simply because he's credible; the facts supporting his application must also meet the U.S. criteria for asylum.

Luis Escobar, a citizen of Guatemala, asked the First Circuit Court of Appeals to review the Board of Immigration Appeals' (BIA) decision denying his applications for asylum, statutory withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture. While the Boston-based court sympathized with Escobar, it rejected his appellate arguments.

No Continuance for Prospect of Immigration Reform

An immigration judge may grant a motion for continuance for “good cause shown.”

This week, the First Circuit Court of Appeals clarified that the possibility of legislation that would alter existing immigration laws does not qualify as “good cause shown.”

First Circuit Rejects Per Se Refugee Status

A woman can use China’s one-child policy as the basis for an asylum application, but her husband cannot.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week in a matter of first impression that 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42)(B), a statute enacted to pave the way for asylum for victims of China’s coercive population control policies, does not automatically extend to a spouse of a person forced to undergo an abortion.

Asylum Request Needs Showing of Systematic Persecution

Sometimes, credibility of testimony isn't the only bar to a claim of asylum. The history of persecution of a group can be an important factor in determining whether a petition against removal can stand.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals looked at one such asylum case earlier this week and ruled in favor of deportation for a Guatemalan citizen who invoked the Convention Against Torture.

Unpleasantness Isn't Persecution in Asylum Appeal

Unpleasantness — even extreme unpleasantness — does not qualify as persecution in an immigration appeal, according to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

This week, the Boston-based appellate court ruled that a Ukrainian woman who was harassed, beaten, and arrested in Ukraine for her Pentecostal beliefs had endured some tough times, but had not proven persecution.