CA9 on Continuous Residence: Galindo de Rodriguez v. Holder

CA9 on Continuous Residence: Galindo de Rodriguez v. Holder

"Rosa Delicia Galindo de Rodriguez (“Galindo”) petitions for review of two final orders of the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”), the first finding her ineligible for cancellation of removal and the second denying her motion to reopen. In her first petition, Galindo contends that the BIA erred in finding that she had not “resided in the United States continuously for 7 years after having been admitted in any status”—a requirement for certain legal permanent residents (“LPRs”) to be eligible for cancellation of removal. See Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) § 240A(a)(2), 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(a)(2). The BIA found that her thirteen-day trip to Mexico, pursuant to an authorization of advance parole, severed the continuity of her United States residence.

That conclusion cannot be squared with the plain text of the statute, which defines a person’s residence as her “principal, actual dwelling place.” See INA § 101(a)(33), 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(33).  Before this Court, the government also argues that she was required to maintain a lawful admitted status throughout her seven years of residence. But the provision at issue only requires seven years of continuous residence; it does not require continuous status of any particular kind. The lawfulness of her presence in the United States “after having been admitted in any status” is immaterial to the continuity of her residence. See 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(a)(2). ... The BIA improperly concluded that Galindo’s residence “after having been admitted in any status” was not continuous as required by 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(a)(2) because she took a thirteen-day trip to Mexico pursuant to a grant of advance parole. We therefore grant Galindo’s petition for review of the BIA’s dismissal of her appeal and remand." - Galindo de Rodriguez v. Holder, July 30, 2013.  [Hats off to Philippe Dwelshauvers!]