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CA6 Slams BIA re Crime of Violence, Categorical Approach: Sanchez-Perez v. Garland

May 01, 2024 (1 min read)

Sanchez-Perez v. Garland

"One day after he pleaded guilty to violating a Tennessee domestic-violence law, the federal government initiated removal proceedings against Jose Yanel Sanchez-Perez. Ultimately, an immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals determined that Sanchez-Perez could not seek cancellation of removal due to this conviction. The Board of Immigration Appeals improperly determined that Sanchez-Perez pleaded guilty to a crime of violence, however. Accordingly, we GRANT Sanchez-Perez’s petition for review, VACATE the Board’s order of removal, and REMAND to the Board for proceedings consistent with our opinion. ... Because the Tennessee statute at issue, Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-101(a)(2), criminalizes conduct beyond the federal definition of a crime of violence, the BIA erred in finding that Sanchez-Perez is statutorily barred from seeking cancellation of removal. ... The government’s and BIA’s errors in this case involve basic misreading of both our and the Supreme Court’s precedents concerning the distinctions between different federal statutory schemes and the meaningful differences among state criminal statutes. At bottom, because on its face the Tennessee statute at issue here criminalizes conduct that does not require the use or threatened use of violent physical force, the BIA erred when it determined that Sanchez-Perez was statutorily barred from applying for cancellation of removal by virtue of his 2009 conviction for misdemeanor domestic assault under Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-13-111."

[Hats off to Will York!]