Maria Lowe v. Jefferson Sessions, III

Case: 15-60825 Document: 00514185630 Page: 1 Date Filed: 10/05/2017 IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit No. 15-60825 FILED October 5, 2017 Lyle W. Cayce Clerk MARIA DE LOS ANGELES LOWE, Also Known as Maria Lowe-Alarcon, Also Known as Maria Alarcon Cervantes, Petitioner, versus JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS III, U.S. Attorney General, Respondent. Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Before SMITH, OWEN, and HIGGINSON, Circuit Judges. JERRY E. SMITH, Circuit Judge: Maria Lowe petitions for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA” or “Board”) denying a motion to reconsider her motion to re- open. Finding no error, we deny the petition. I. Lowe is a native and citizen of Mexico who entered the United States Case: 15-60825 Document: 00514185630 Page: 2 Date Filed: 10/05/2017 No. 15-60825 unlawfully in 1996. In 2007, she received an adjustment of immigration status from illegal alien to lawful permanent resident. In October 2010, she was convicted of aiding and abetting the improper entry of an alien. The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) began removal proceed- ings against Lowe. Under 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(1)(E)(i), aliens are removable who “prior to the date of entry, at the time of any entry, or within 5 years of the date of any entry[ ] knowingly [ ] encouraged, induced, assisted, abetted, or aided any other alien to enter or to try to enter the United States in violation of law.” DHS alleged that Lowe’s conviction of aiding and abetting qualified under § 1227 and that, though she physically entered the United States in 1996, her adjustment of status constituted “entry,” as a matter of law, for purposes of the statute. At her removal hearing before an immigration judge (“IJ”), Lowe admit- ted to being a citizen of Mexico and to having her status adjusted in 2007; she contested her 2010 conviction. The IJ determined that the adjustment of status in 2007 constituted Lowe’s entry and that the conviction rendered her removable. Lowe appealed to the BIA and, importantly, contended only that her conviction did not qualify under Section 1227. The BIA rejected that theory and dismissed the appeal in March 2015. Lowe did not petition for review of that decision. Instead, in June 2015 she filed a motion to reopen with the BIA. She asserted ineffective assistance of counsel (“IAC”), claiming that her original counsel had performed ineffec- tively by failing to argue that her only date of entry was her initial 1996 entry and that her 2007 adjustment of status did not count as an entry. The BIA rejected that theory and denied the motion to reopen in August 2015. Lowe filed a motion for reconsideration, which reasserted her ineffective- assistance and date-of-entry arguments, and the BIA again denied those 2 Case: 15-60825 Document: 00514185630 Page: 3 Date Filed: 10/05/2017 No. 15-60825 claims, this time in October 2015. Lowe then filed the instant petition for review, pressing only ...

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