Hafoka v. Sessions

FILED United States Court of Appeals UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS Tenth Circuit FOR THE TENTH CIRCUIT May 10, 2018 _________________________________ Elisabeth A. Shumaker Clerk of Court SEMI HAFOKA, a/k/a Ofa He Lotu Vainuku, Petitioner, v. No. 16-9559 (Petition for Review) JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS, III, United States Attorney General, Respondent. _________________________________ ORDER AND JUDGMENT* _________________________________ Before PHILLIPS, KELLY, and McHUGH, Circuit Judges. _________________________________ Semi Hafoka petitions this court to review the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (the Board’s) order removing him to Tonga, his native country, and reversing an immigration judge’s decision to grant his application for cancellation of removal. With at least six convictions for crimes involving moral turpitude on his record, Hafoka admits that he’s deportable under 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(ii), but asserts that he’s still entitled to cancellation of removal under § 1229b(a)—as the immigration judge found. In concluding otherwise, argues Hafoka, the Board exceeded the bounds of its appellate role and deprived him of his right to due * This order and judgment is not binding precedent, except under the doctrines of law of the case, res judicata, and collateral estoppel. It may be cited, however, for its persuasive value consistent with Fed. R. App. P. 32.1 and 10th Cir. R. 32.1. process. He urges us to intervene. But the power to grant discretionary relief, such as cancellation of removal, lies with the Attorney General. Absent some exception, we lack jurisdiction to review his decisions. See 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii). Here, no exception applies, so we dismiss Hafoka’s petition for lack of jurisdiction.1 BACKGROUND Since immigrating to the United States in 1988 on an agricultural-worker visa, and then becoming a lawful permanent resident in 1993, Hafoka has had “at least 21 separate encounters with law enforcement” in the Salt Lake City area. R. at 108. As these encounters piled up, Hafoka developed the unfortunate habit of lying to the police about his name, sometimes offering his wife’s or brother-in-law’s in lieu of his own. By 2015, he’d thus accrued six state-court convictions for giving false information to a peace officer (or some variation thereon), plus seven convictions for driving under the influence. In addition, he had been arrested (but not convicted) for possessing drug paraphernalia, had been convicted of attempted theft, and had committed several traffic infractions, including driving without a license, without insurance, or without registration, and speeding. As punishment, the courts often sentenced him to probation, with a suspended jail term. But Hafoka seldom complied with probationary terms—he would fail to pay fines, or disregard a court order to enroll in an alcohol-treatment program, or drive drunk (again)—and land in jail for a short stint. 1 We have inherent jurisdiction to assess our own jurisdiction. Latu v. Ashcroft, 375 F.3d 1012, 1017 (10th Cir. 2004) (quoting Kuhali v. Reno, 266 F.3d 93, 100 (2d Cir. 2001)). 2 Then on August 1, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (the Department) got involved, serving Hafoka with a Notice to Appear, and ordering him detained. The Notice alleged ...

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