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CA9: BIA's Application of Richmond Untenable, Unmoored, Unreasonable, Incoherent: Ramírez Muñoz v. Garland

June 26, 2023 (1 min read)

Ramírez Muñoz v. Garland

"We must decide whether Ramírez’s conduct—lying to local authorities about U.S. citizenship—was for a “purpose or benefit under” a particular law. The BIA, relying on its Richmond decision, concluded that Ramírez lied about his citizenship “for the purpose of avoiding removal proceedings.” See In re Richmond, 26 I. & N. Dec. 779, 788 (B.I.A. 2016) (holding that a “purpose” under a law “includes the avoidance of negative legal consequences— including removal proceedings”). The BIA’s interpretation of § 1182(a)(6)(C)(ii)(I) is untenable. We agree with our sister circuit that “the BIA’s construction of the ‘purpose or benefit’ language [is] . . . ‘unmoored from the purposes and concerns’ of the statute.” Castro v. Att’y Gen., 671 F.3d 356, 370 (3d Cir. 2012) (quoting Judulang v. Holder, 565 U.S. 42, 64 (2011)). ... We conclude that Richmond’s construction of “under” is unreasonable and do not afford it any deference. Consequently, we reject Richmond’s derivative holding that “[t]he term ‘purpose’ . . . includes the avoidance of negative legal consequences—including removal proceedings.” ... We therefore grant the petition for review and remand to the agency to either grant Ramírez’s application for adjustment of status or explain, consistent with this opinion, why not."

[Hats way off to Marco A. Jimenez!]