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Published Decisions

Khoury v. Asher, 3 F.Supp.3d 877 (W.D.Wash. 2014).

The district court granted class certification, and sustained the challenge to the overly broad application of mandatory detention statute. The court granted declaratory and injunctive relief, ruling that the government did not have the authority to apply “mandatory detention” to the class members at Northwest Detention Center, persons who had not been immediately taken into custody by DHS when released from criminal custody.

Rivera v. Holder, 307 F.R.D 539 (W.D. Wa. 2015).

The federal district court certified the class and granted summary judgment, issuing declaratory and injunctive relief which clarified that immigration judges (“IJs”) have authority under INA § 236(a), 8 U.S.C. § 1226(a) to grant release on conditional parole as an alternative to release on a monetary bond.

Duran-Gonzales v. DHS, 702 F.3d 504 (9th Cir. 2013).

The Court of Appeals reversed and vacated its prior opinion in response to the petition for rehearing en banc. The Court found that although the agency was entitled to change the rules pursuant to the Supreme Court's holding inBrand X, the change in law does not necessarily apply retroactively to class members who had applied for adjustment of status under INA 245(i), prior to the agency changing the rules to render them ineligible. The Court of Appeals remanded to the District Court to determine how class members benefit from the appropriate retroactivity test.

Chay Ixcot v. Holder, --F.3d--, (9th Cir. June 1, 2011).

The Court ruled that the agency violated the law by trying to reinstate a prior deportation order rather than first completing adjudication of his pending application for political asylum. The Court ruled that applying the new reinstatement law that was enacted three years after he applied in order to deprive Mr. Chay Ixcot of the right to have his pending asylum application heard would have an unlawful retroactive effect at it “would impair rights a party possessed when he acted.”

Lopez-Birrueta v. Holder, 633 F.3d 1211(9th Cir. 2011).

The Court found that the Immigration Judge and Board of Immigration Appeals erred in applying a restrictive interpretation of battery for purposes of establishing eligibility for cancellation of removal for victims of domestic violence. In this case, Ms. Lopez’ children had been beaten with a stick when they were two and three years old. Nonetheless, the Immigration Judge found that since there was no lasting injury it did not demonstrate a heightened level of violence necessary to qualify for relief for victims of domestic violence. The Court swept aside the agency’s determination clarifying that there is no requirement for a heightened level of violence. The court also rejected the government’s position that the immigration court could consider state-law definitions when determining what is required under this federal law. The Ninth Circuit concluded that the undisputed evidence of physical abuse that M.L.B.’s children suffered clearly met the standard necessary for protection under VAWA.

Franco-Gonzales v. Holder, -- F.Supp.2d --, 2010 WL 5874537 (C.D.Cal. Dec. 27, 2010).

The Court granted preliminary injunction for named plaintiffs, finding as a matter of first impression that mentally incompetent plaintiffs were entitled to reasonable accommodation of appointment of counsel, under the Rehabilitation Act and also ruling that Plaintiffs were entitled to a custody hearing.

Cortez-Guillen v. Holder, 623 F.3d 933 (9th Cir. 2010).

The Court ruled that the agency erred in ordering the petitioner removed. The Court reiterated that the agency is bound by the elements of the crime, even with regards to the realistic probability test. A such, the Alaskan coercion statute does not categorically qualify as aggravated felony crime of violence as it may encompass threats regarding unlawful conduct that are not violent crimes. The petitioner been a lawful permanent resident for almost thirty years.

Bromfield v. Mukasey, 543 F.3d 1071 (9th Cir. 2008).

The Court ruled that the record compels a finding that there exists a pattern and practice of persecution against gay men in Jamaica. The agency also erred by failing to recognize that the Jamaican government not only acquiesces in the torture of gay men, but is also directly involved in such torture. The Court further clarified that even where a petitioner has been found removable based upon an aggravated felony the Court retains jurisdiction to review claims for withholding of removal and relief under the Convention Against Torture if the denial was based upon the merits of the claim.

Doissaint v. Mukasey, 538 F.3d 1167 (9th Cir. 2008).

The Court ruled that the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) had erred in failing to address the Petitioner’s arguments as to eligibility for protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The Court also held that the BIA could not try to cure its own error by denying a motion to reopen by the petitioner.

Roshandel v. Chertoff, 554 F.Supp.2d 1194 (W.D.Wash. 2008).

The District Court granted the motion certifying district wide class of applicants for naturalization whose applications had not been timely adjudicated after their interview, as a result of the agency’s failure to complete the namecheck. This is the first class certified on this issue in the nation.

Mandujano-Real v. Mukasey, 526 F.3d 585 (9th Cir. 2008).

The Court ruled that an identity theft conviction does not qualify as an aggravated felony theft conviction for immigration purposes because the elements of the identity theft statute encompass many forms of conduct that do not fall under the common law definition of theft. The Court also clarified that it was not appropriate to remand the case to the BIA where the BIA’s interpretation was not entitled to deference and the BIA had an opportunity to address the issues presented. Finally, the Court reconfirmed that the government may not rely upon an individual’s concession of removability that is incorrect as a legal matter.

Suazo-Perez v. Mukasey, 512 F.3d 1222 (9th Cir. 2008).

The Court held that the Immigration Judge and Board of Immigration Appeals erred in finding that the petitioner’s misdemeanor conviction for assault constituted a crime of violence and thus rendered him deportable despite his lawful permanent resident status.

Hosseini v. Gonzales, 464 F.3d 1018 (9th Cir. 2006).

The Court found that an applicant for relief who has been identified as a supporter of a counterrevolutionary group in Iran qualifies for relief under the Convention Against Torture even where the individual had not experienced past torture.

Hernandez-Guadarrama v. Ashcroft, 394 F.3d 674 (9th Cir. 2005).

The Court reaffirmed an often-ignored principle: that the government cannot use statements against non-citizens in removal proceedings without making a reasonable attempt to have the affiants available for cross-examination. This point is especially crucial where the government itself removed the affiants instead of making them available at the removal proceedings.

Cuevas-Gaspar v. Gonzales, 430 F.3d 1013 (9th Cir. 2005).

The Court held that a conviction for burglary in the State of Washington does not categorically constitute a crime involving moral turpitude. In addition, the Court ruled the lawful admission and residence of the parents can be imputed to a minor child for purposes of qualifying for cancellation of removal.

Perez-Gonzalez v. Ashcroft, 379 F.3d 783 (9th Cir. 2004).

The Court found that certain individuals with prior deportation orders are nonetheless entitled to have their applications for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence along with the necessary waivers adjudicated before the government can moved to reinstate the prior order of removal. The Court held that notwithstanding the prior deportation or removal orders, such individuals are still eligible to become permanent residents. Before Perez-Gonzalez, the vast majority of these individuals were being summarily deported without a hearing and denied the opportunity to become permanent residents.

Garcia-Lopez v. Ashcroft, 334 F.3d 840 (9th Cir. 2003) (1).

The Court ruled that prior offense of grand theft would not be considered misdemeanor under California statute providing that “wobbler” offense was to be treated as misdemeanor after judgment imposed punishment other than imprisonment in state prison, but (2) California court's declaration that such offense was misdemeanor was binding on BIA.

Castro-Cortez v. Ashcroft, 239 F.3d 1037 (9th Cir. 2001).

The Court found that it had jurisdiction to directly review administrative reinstatement orders, and that the provision of Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) permitting INS to reinstate prior orders of removal did not apply retroactively.