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Karingithi v. Whitaker - 913 F.3d 1158 (9th Cir. 2019)

Rule:

A notice to appear that does not specify the time and place of an alien's initial removal hearing vests an Immigration Judge with jurisdiction over the removal proceedings so long as a notice of hearing specifying this information is later sent to the alien. 8 C.F.R. § 1003.14(a) does not mandate that the charging document specify the time and date of the initial hearing before jurisdiction will vest, and 8 C.F.R. § 1003.15(b) does not mandate that the time and date of the initial hearing must be included in that document. The regulations only require a notice to appear to include the time, place and date of the initial removal hearing, where practicable. 

Facts:

Petitioner Serah Njoki Karingithi, a native of Kenya, entered the United States on July 7, 2006 on a tourist visa. She violated her visa's terms by remaining in the United States past the visa's six-month limit. On April 3, 2009, the Department of Homeland Security commenced removal proceedings by filing a notice to appear with the United States Immigration Court, charging Karingithi with removability under 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(1)(B). The notice to appear specified the location of the removal hearing. The date and time were "To Be Set." That same day, Karingithi was issued a notice of hearing, which provided the date and time of the hearing. At the hearing, Karingithi conceded removability, but filed with the Immigration Court an application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. In the alternative, she requested voluntary departure. After multiple continuances spanning five years, as well as numerous hearing notices providing the date and time of proceedings, the Immigration Judge ("IJ") rejected all four grounds for relief, and ordered Karingithi removed. The United States Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") affirmed. Karingithi filed a petition for review, challenging the IJ's jurisdiction over her removal proceedings and the BIA's decision.

Issue:

Did the IJ have jurisdiction over Karingithi's removal proceedings?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The appellate court denied the petition for review and held that the Immigration Court had jurisdiction over Karingithi's removal proceedings. The hearing notices Karingithi received specified the time and date of her removal proceedings. The Court did not decide whether jurisdiction would have vested if she had not received this information in a timely fashion.

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