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Immigration Law

Unpub. CA5 "Exceptional Circumstances" Remand: Perez-Vasquez v. Garland

Perez-Vasquez v. Garland

"Perez-Vasquez is correct that the BIA erred by failing to address key evidence. See Cabrera v. Sessions, 890 F.3d 153, 162 (5th Cir. 2018). Specifically, the BIA did not consider several factors he raised in his motion to reopen as to whether exceptional circumstances prevented his appearance at his removal hearing, including evidence of: (1) Perez’s multiple attempts to contact both the Portland and El Paso immigration courts; (2) the fact that he filed two change of address forms because the El Paso immigration court sent the notice of hearing to the wrong address after he filed his first one; (3) the fact that his hearing was set in El Paso—where his son was detained—as opposed to Portland despite informing officials that he was going to reside in Oregon; (4) his financial constraints in travelling to El Paso with three-days notice. See Matter of S-L-H- & L-B-L-, 28 I. & N. Dec. 318, 321 & n.4 (BIA 2021); see also Magdaleno de Morales v. INS, 116 F.3d 145, 148 (5th Cir. 1997) (considering whether alien attempted to contact the immigration court prior to hearing). Additionally, the BIA failed to address evidence of Perez’s regular check-ins with immigration officials and his diligence in filing a motion to reopen, which tend to show an incentive to appear. See Matter of S-L-H- & L-B-L-, 28 I. & N. Dec. at 321. ... Perez-Vasquez’s petition for review is GRANTED in part, DISMISSED in part, and DENIED in part. His case is REMANDED to the BIA for the limited purpose of considering—in light of the totality of the circumstances of his individual case—whether exceptional circumstances prevented his appearance at his removal hearing."

[Hats off to NIPNLG Director of Legal Resources and Training Michelle N. Méndez!]