U.S. First Circuit - The FindLaw 1st Circuit Court of Appeals News and Information Blog

Recently in Immigration Law Category

'Persecutor Bar' Closes Door to Immigrant

A lifetime ago in El Salvador, Jose Alvarado joined the national guard because it was the only job he could get to feed his family.

One day, however, he stood by as his superiors beat a suspected guerilla and forced needles under the man's fingernails. Alvarado later left the country for the United States.

An immigration judge said Alvarado could legally stay in the U.S. because he didn't have the motive to hurt anybody. In Alvarado v. Whitaker, the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed.

"Alien reporting requirements" -- a terrifying phrase for immigrants in the U.S. The phrase becomes particularly ominous given the fact that it was completely misinterpreted by an immigration court in Alan Soares Renaut v. Loretta E. Lynch.

How is that possible, you ask? Aren't the reporting requirements simple enough?

Here's the requirement at issue: as an alien in the U.S., you're required to give the government a valid mailing address. If your address changes, you must inform the government of that change.

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.