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Immigration Law

Ninth Circuit on deference, NACARA...and a wrong turn on the freeway: Lezama-Garcia

"Carlos Antonio Lezama-Garcia (“Lezama”), a native and citizen of Nicaragua, petitions for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) dismissing his appeal of an immigration judge’s (“IJ”) order of removal. The IJ determined that, under 8 C.F.R. § 245.13(k)(1), Lezama had abandoned his pending application for adjustment of status under Section 202 of the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (“NACARA”) as of the moment he drove from the United States into Mexico — even if his unplanned departure was not desired and he immediately turned around and attempted to return. As a result, the IJ ordered Lezama to be removed as an inadmissible arriving alien.  We conclude that deeming Lezama’s NACARA application abandoned was contrary to the regulation, and ordering removal conflicted with NACARA itself. We therefore grant the petition and remand for further proceedings." - Lezama-Garcia v. Holder, Nov. 30, 2011.