Afamasaga v. Sessions

FILED United States Court of Appeals PUBLISH Tenth Circuit UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS March 19, 2018 Elisabeth A. Shumaker FOR THE TENTH CIRCUIT Clerk of Court _________________________________ PAULO AFAMASAGA, a/k/a Paul Afamasaga, Petitioner, v. No. 17-9528 JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS, III, Attorney General of the United States, Respondent. _________________________________ Petition for Review of an Order from the Board of Immigration Appeals _________________________________ Submitted on the briefs:* Hakeem Ishola, Heier, Ishola & Navarro, PLLC, West Valley City, Utah, for Petitioner. Chad A. Readler, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Claire L. Workman, Senior Litigation Counsel, Rachel Browning, Trial Attorney, Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil Division, Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for Respondent. _________________________________ Before BRISCOE, HARTZ, and McHUGH, Circuit Judges. _________________________________ HARTZ, Circuit Judge. _________________________________ * After examining the briefs and appellate record, this panel has determined unanimously to honor the parties’ request for a decision on the briefs without oral argument. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(f); 10th Cir. R. 34.1(G). The case is therefore submitted without oral argument. Petitioner Paulo Afamasaga, a native and citizen of Samoa, entered the United States on a nonimmigrant tourist visa and remained beyond the date authorized. After he pleaded guilty to making a false statement when applying for an American passport, see 18 U.S.C. § 1542, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) successfully initiated removal proceedings against him. Mr. Afamasaga applied for cancellation of removal under 8 U.S.C. § 1229b, but the immigration judge (IJ) deemed him ineligible on the ground that violating § 1542 is a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) agreed and dismissed his appeal. “Although we usually lack jurisdiction to review BIA orders concerning cancellation under § 1229b, see 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(B)(i), we have jurisdiction to review questions of law decided in those orders, id. § 1252(a)(2)(D).” Flores-Molina v. Sessions, 850 F.3d 1150, 1157 (10th Cir. 2017). Exercising that jurisdiction, we deny Mr. Afamasaga’s petition for review of the BIA’s decision. I. Factual and Procedural Background Mr. Afamasaga was admitted to the United States on a nonimmigrant, B-2 tourist visa in February 1998, with authorization to remain until that August. He stayed much longer. In 2011, Mr. Afamasaga pleaded guilty in federal court to violating § 1542, which prohibits “willfully and knowingly mak[ing] any false statement in an application for [a] passport with intent to induce or secure the issuance of a passport under the authority of the United States.” The indictment charged that Mr. Afamasaga falsely stated in his passport application that he was 2 born in American Samoa; had that been true, he would be a United States citizen. He was sentenced to time served, though he could have been sentenced to up to ten years in prison. See 18 U.S.C. § 1542. Shortly thereafter, the DHS issued a Notice to Appear, charging him with removability as an alien who had remained in the United States longer than permitted. See 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(1)(B). The IJ ...

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