Finest Meridor v. U.S. Attorney General

Case: 15-14569 Date Filed: 06/07/2018 Page: 1 of 11 [PUBLISH] IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT ________________________ No. 15-14569 ________________________ Agency No. A072-385-439 FINEST MERIDOR, Petitioner, versus U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL, Respondent. ________________________ Petition for Review of a Decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals ________________________ (June 7, 2018) Before WILSON, JORDAN and HIGGINBOTHAM, ∗ Circuit Judges. WILSON, Circuit Judge: ∗ Honorable Patrick E. Higginbotham, United States Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit, sitting by designation. Case: 15-14569 Date Filed: 06/07/2018 Page: 2 of 11 Finest Meridor, a native and citizen of Haiti, seeks review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA) final order of removal. That order vacated the order of an immigration judge (IJ), which had granted Meridor a waiver of inadmissibility in his pursuit of a U visa. The BIA found that IJs did not have authority to grant such a waiver, and, even if they did, on the merits Meridor was not entitled to one. On appeal, Meridor argues that the plain language of 8 U.S.C. § 1182(d)(3)(A) gives IJs authority to grant waivers of inadmissibility. Meridor further argues that the BIA engaged in legal error in reaching its alternative holding that he did not merit a waiver. Because the plain language of § 1182(d)(3)(A) does grant authority to IJs to issue waivers of inadmissibility, and because the BIA committed legal error in reaching its alternative holding on the merits, we grant the petition to review the final removal order, vacate it, and remand for further proceedings. On remand, the BIA must reconsider its final order of removal, the IJ’s grant of a waiver of inadmissibility to Meridor pursuant to this plain language and the prohibition on de novo fact finding in its review of the IJ’s opinion. I. Finest Meridor arrived in the United States about 25 years ago as a political refugee from Haiti. Meridor and his sister fled Haiti for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 2 Case: 15-14569 Date Filed: 06/07/2018 Page: 3 of 11 and then boarded a military plane to Miami. Meridor applied for political asylum, but he withdrew his application after it lingered for many years. In January 2013, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified Meridor that he was subject to removal because he was a foreign national without a valid visa or passport, and because he had convictions for a crime of moral turpitude and controlled-substance offenses. DHS took him into custody pending his deportation hearing. Meridor applied for asylum and for withholding of removal while his case was pending. After a hearing, an IJ agreed that Meridor was removable due to his prior convictions. The IJ also denied Meridor’s request for asylum and for withholding of removal. Meridor moved for reconsideration, but before the IJ ruled on his motion, Meridor retained new counsel who believed that Meridor might be able to qualify for a U visa1 and therefore be able to stay in the United States. Meridor applied for a U visa and for a ...

Original document
Source: All recent Immigration Decisions In All the U.S. Courts of Appeals