Francisco Lara-Aguilar v. Jefferson B. Sessions III

PUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 16-1836 FRANCISCO LARA-AGUILAR, Petitioner, v. JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS III, Attorney General, Respondent. On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals. Argued: December 7, 2017 Decided: May 2, 2018 Before TRAXLER, KING, and HARRIS, Circuit Judges. Petition for review denied by published opinion. Judge Traxler wrote the opinion in which Judge King and Judge Harris joined. ARGUED: Shon Robert Hopwood, GEORGETOWN LAW APPELLATE COURTS IMMERSION CLINIC, Washington, D.C., for Petitioner. Matthew B. George, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Respondent. ON BRIEF: Steven H. Goldblatt, Director, Sarah E. Balkissoon, Student Counsel, Hillary B. Neger, Student Counsel, Harry R.S. Phillips, Student Counsel, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW CENTER, Washington, D.C., for Petitioner. Chad A. Readler, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, Benjamin C. Mizer, Principal Deputy, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, Douglas E. Ginsburg, Assistant Director, Office of Immigration Litigation, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Respondent. TRAXLER, Circuit Judge: In the fall of 2013, Francisco Lara-Aguilar was caught while attempting to enter the United States illegally and subsequently removed. A few months later, Lara-Aguilar returned and attempted another unlawful border crossing but was caught in the act once again. As a result, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) opted to reinstate his prior order of removal under 8 U.S.C. § 1231(a)(5). This time, Lara-Aguilar sought various forms of relief from removal, including asylum and withholding of removal. Although Lara-Aguilar was granted withholding of removal, the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) concluded that he was ineligible for asylum under § 1231(a)(5) based on his reinstated order of removal. This court recently held that an alien subject to a reinstated order of removal may not apply for asylum. See Mejia v. Sessions, 866 F.3d 573, 584 (4th Cir. 2017). Lara- Aguilar, however, argues that because the factual basis for his asylum claim did not exist prior to his removal in 2013, Mejia does not cover his situation and he should be permitted to seek asylum based on the “changed circumstances” provision of 8 U.S.C. § 1158(a)(2)(D). As explained below, we cannot subscribe to Lara-Aguilar’s position, which is inconsistent with both the statute and Mejia. Accordingly, we deny the petition for review. I. Lara-Aguilar is a native and citizen of El Salvador. In September 2013, he unlawfully entered the United States without inspection near Laredo, Texas. Lara- 2 Aguilar was apprehended and placed in expedited removal proceedings; he did not express a fear of returning to El Salvador at that time and he did not apply for asylum. In November 2013, Lara-Aguilar was removed to El Salvador pursuant to an Order of Expedited Removal. In February 2014, approximately three months after having been removed, Lara-Aguilar returned and once again unlawfully crossed into the United States without inspection. He was apprehended by border patrol agents near Hidalgo, Texas, and placed in detention. On February 12, 2014, DHS notified Lara-Aguilar it intended to reinstate his prior order of ...

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