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CA4 Denies Reh. En Banc in Pugin v. Garland (Obstruction of Justice)

March 08, 2022 (1 min read)

Pugin v. Garland ("Pugin II")

See Chief Judge Gregory's dissent: "I respectfully dissent from this court’s denial of rehearing en banc on the issue of whether to grant Chevron deference to the Board of Immigration’s (“Board”) recent interpretation of § 1101(a)(43)(S), providing that an aggravated felony under the INA is “an offense relating to the obstruction of justice, perjury or subornation of perjury, or bribery of a witness.” According to the Board, to “obstruct justice” only requires a connection to the “process of justice,” which the Board later redefined as circumstances where an investigation or proceeding was merely “reasonably foreseeable.” In re Valenzuela Gallardo, 27 I. & N. Dec. 449, 460 (B.I.A. 2018). ... [T]his court’s decision will have far-reaching implications. Namely, this decision is the first and only to uphold the Board’s 2018 redefinition as reasonable—repudiating the Ninth Circuit’s 2020 decision. Accordingly, by no longer requiring a nexus element, this opinion expands the list of possible state crimes that could trigger immigration deportation consequences for many persons who may not have been otherwise subject to deportation. This is a sizeable impact for many people in our country. Accordingly, for the foregoing reasons, I believe that en banc review is warranted."

[For reference, here is a link to Pugin I.]