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CA8 on AgFel: Huynh v. Garland

May 28, 2024 (1 min read)

Huynh v. Garland

"Nguyen Chi Cuong Nmn Huynh petitions for review of a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) order affirming that he is removable because he was convicted of a state crime constituting “sexual abuse of a minor” under 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(A). Because Huynh’s statute of conviction is plainly broader than this generic federal offense, we grant his petition for review. ... All told, Iowa Code § 728.12(3) is a mismatch for sexual abuse of a minor, so the BIA erred in holding that it’s an aggravated felony under § 1101(a)(43)(A). ... DHS also charged Huynh as removable for committing a “crime involving moral turpitude” within five years of his admission to the United States. 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(i). Huynh argued that the Iowa statute doesn’t call for the necessary “vicious motive, corrupt mind, or evil intent,” see Chanmouny v. Ashcroft, 376 F.3d 810, 814–15 (8th Cir. 2004) (citation omitted), because it requires the defendant to have known only that he possessed an image—not that the image depicted a minor. The BIA rejected Huynh’s argument because he did not provide examples of courts applying the Iowa statute to defendants who didn’t know the person in the image was underage. The Government does not defend the BIA’s decision. Nor could it. We do not require petitioners to “prove through specific convictions that unambiguous laws really mean what they say.” Gonzalez, 990 F.3d at 660. ... We grant Huynh’s petition for review, vacate, and remand for further proceedings."

[Hats off to Al Smith (argued) and Benjamin Bergmann!  Audio of the oral argument is here.]