The Happiest Day Still Shadowed by Injustice http://ailaleadershipblog.org/2014/12/09/the-happiest-day-still-shadowed-by-injustice/
The Eleventh Circuit ruled today that a Respondent can not file a stand alone 212(h) waiver without an accompanying application for adjustment of status application. Rivas applied for a waiver of inadmissibility nunc pro tunc after being placed in removal proceedings. He had applied for naturalization, but his application was denied since he had two larceny convictions in Florida. The immigration judge granted the waiver application and the Service appealed. The Board reversed the immigration judge’s decision reasoning that statutory revisions such is IIRIRA precluded nunc pro tunc waiver applications. The Eleventh Circuit upheld the Board’s decision on the same reasoning. The court also ruled that Congress had several rational basis to disallow nunc pro tunc waivers. To read the decision click here.
I have been an advocate of changing the Supreme Court’s decision that removal proceedings are civil and not criminal. The main reason being my argument is the fact that criminal law has infiltrated removal proceedings since the criminal grounds for removal have been expanded by Congress on several occasions.
One of the problems in removal proceedings is the definition of “conviction” for immigration law purposes. The common sense definition of the term does not apply in these “civil” proceedings, since a mere admission of enough facts makes you removable for immigration purposes. The consequences that come from such “conviction” are tremendous in the immigration context, including triggering the stop-time rule, a rule that would make a person ineligible for discretionary relief like Cancellation of Removal for non and lawful permanent resident.
The Board in a recent unpublished decision ruled that admission, without being informed of the possible consequences of such conduct and the true definition of the crime, did not trigger the stop-time rule under Matter of K, 7 I&N. Dec. 59 (BIA 1957). Unfortunately, this is an unpublished decision by the Board, which under guidance, the Board does not have to follow. However, I have used these decisions in court proceedings and they were very persuasive.
I ask you to please comment and let me know what you think. Also, please feel free to add me or follow me on social networks. Thank you for following me.
I will be discussing the second case that I discussed in my last post. This case involved a Respondent with so many identities, that the court could not find out his true identity. In Singh v. Holder, a Respondent appealed the Board of Immigration Appeals‘ order affirming the immigration judge’s decision denying his application for adjustment of status. He claimed that his due process rights were violated and that the Board erred in holding that he could not prove that he was admitted into the United States.
Singh claimed that his name in Tarsem Singh and was born on June 13, 1982, and that he entered the United States in 1995. He was also known as Simranjit Singh. He was smuggled into the United States as the daughter of a family friend. He was apprehended by ICE in 1997 and was served with for I-213. The document showed that he was born in 1978, making him 19 years old at the time. He was removed in absentia after he failed to appear for his removal hearing. His mother procured a new birth certificate for him, with a new name and a new birthday, making him 15 years old. He filed a motion to reopen the case arguing that he did not receive proper notice of the old proceeding, which was granted. He then moved to terminate the proceedings arguing that he was a minor at the time and termination was warranted under 8 C.F.R. § 236.3. The immigration judge ordered his removal reasoning that he was nineteen when served with the first Notice to Appear. He also ruled that he was not inspected by an immigration officer, since his story could not be credited. The Board upheld the immigration judge’s decision.
The First Circuit rejected Singh’s argument that his due process rights were violated since he was given enough notice to speak to his father about his arrest and because the curt could not prove his true age. The court also ruled that Singh could not show that he was inspected since he could not provide proof of such inspection. Thus, the court upheld the Board‘s decision.
I think that this case should not have been appealed. I believe that as practitioners we should be cautious of what we appeal, due to the concern that we establish bad law. I welcome your comments and feedback.[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]
I have represented several individuals, both before the Service and immigration courts, who were inadmissible for a material misrepresentation under the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA). The typical problem involves a situation where a person was applying for a visitor’s visa, says that he/she is married when she is not, and now is applying for permanent residence based on a marriage petition. During the adjustment of status interview, the misrepresentation is discovered and the application is denied or put on hold to allow the client to apply for a waiver. In some cases the client is even placed in removal proceedings after the application is denied under Section 237(a)(1)(A) of the Act.
The good thing about these charges, if you were before the Service, is that you can apply for a waiver of the ground of inadmissibility under INA 212(i). The waiver allows the Attorney General to waive the ground of inadmissibility if the alien’s removal would lead to extreme hardship to the alien’s US citizen child or spouse. In the case of a VAWA applicant, the immigrant would qualify for the waiver if the removal would lead to personal hardship.
I have represented several clients in removal proceedings who were placed there for one reason or another. The government bears the burden of proving removability in removal proceedings. The immigrant’s chances of success in both instances depend on the availability of a qualifying relative to show hardship and the evidence that the Service possesses to prove the misrepresentation. I have always tell people, these are very complicated cases and no one should attempt to apply on their own (without an attorney).