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Immigration Law

CA9 on AgFel: Togonon v. Garland

Togonon v. Garland

"Petitioner Longinos Togonon, a native and citizen of the Philippines, was admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident in 2013. In 2015, he was convicted of arson in violation of California Penal Code § 451(b) and sentenced to three years of imprisonment. In 2018, the Department of Homeland Security initiated removal proceedings against Togonon, alleging (as relevant for our purposes) that his arson offense qualifies as an “aggravated felony.” See 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii) (“Any alien who is convicted of an aggravated felony at any time after admission is deportable.”). The Immigration and Nationality Act defines the term “aggravated felony” to include “an offense described in” 18 U.S.C. § 844(i). 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(E)(i). The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) held that a conviction under California Penal Code § 451(b) is an offense described in 18 U.S.C. § 844(i) and that Togonon is therefore subject to removal from the United States. Reviewing that decision de novo, see Sandoval v. Sessions, 866 F.3d 986, 988 (9th Cir. 2017), we conclude that the BIA erred in so holding. We accordingly grant Togonon’s petition for review."

[Hats off to pro bono publico appointed counsel Matthew N. Ball (argued), Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Denver, Colorado; Paul J. Collins, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Palo Alto, California; Andrew T. Brown and Matt Aiden Getz, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Los Angeles, California!]