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Immigration Law

CA1 Puts a Dent in Matter of Y-L-: DeCarvalho v. Garland

DeCarvalho v. Garland

"The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) held that Janito DeCarvalho's conviction for possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 94C, § 32A(a), constitutes a "particularly serious crime" that makes him ineligible for withholding of removal. See 8 U.S.C. § 1231(b)(3)(B)(ii). The BIA also denied DeCarvalho's application for deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). DeCarvalho petitions for review of the BIA's decisions, principally arguing that the Attorney General's decision in Matter of Y-L- unlawfully presumes that all aggravated felonies involving trafficking in controlled substances are particularly serious crimes. See 23 I. & N. Dec. 270, 274–75 (U.S. Att'y Gen. 2002). We deny his petition for review insofar as he seeks CAT relief. We grant the petition in part, however, because the immigration judge (IJ) informed DeCarvalho, who was proceeding pro se, that he was eligible for potential relief only under the CAT. In so doing, the IJ treated DeCarvalho's conviction for drug trafficking as if it were a per se bar to withholding of removal, a position that the government now disavows on appeal. We remand to the agency with instructions to give DeCarvalho a new hearing to determine whether he is entitled to withholding of removal."

[Hats off to Trina Realmuto, Tiffany Lieu, and Jennifer Klein!]