Ricardo Sanchez v. Jefferson B. Sessions III

In the United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit No. 17-1673 RICARDO SANCHEZ, Petitioner, v. JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS III, Attorney General of the United States, Respondent. Petition for Review of an Order of The Board of Immigration Appeals. No. A205-830-444 ARGUED DECEMBER 1, 2017 — DECIDED JULY 5, 2018 Before BAUER, FLAUM, and ROVNER, Circuit Judges. ROVNER, Circuit Judge. Ricardo Sanchez seeks review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals denying his motion to reopen its prior decision denying him discretionary cancella- tion of removal. See 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(1). Because Sanchez’s petition presents questions of law, we have jurisdiction to 2 No. 17-1673 review the Board’s order and, for the reasons that follow, we grant his petition and remand to the Board for further proceed- ings. I. Sanchez, aged 44, is a native and citizen of Mexico who has lived in the United States without documentation for more than 25 years. He is married to another Mexican citizen and national (also undocumented) who lives here in the United States with him; together, they have three U.S.-citizen children aged nine, seven, and two and one-half years. Their youngest child has experienced developmental delays in his motor skills and has been prescribed therapy to address those delays. Sanchez has been arrested and convicted for driving under the influence on four separate occasions between 1997 and 2013. In December 2013, after receiving a one-year suspended sentence for the last of his convictions, Sanchez was appre- hended by immigration officials and served with a notice to appear in a removal proceeding for being in the country illegally. See 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(6)(A)(i). Sanchez subsequently admitted the facts set forth in the notice to appear and conceded his removability; but he applied for cancellation of removal on the basis of the extraordinary hardship that he believed his removal would cause to his two children (at that time his youngest had not yet been born). An immigration judge conducted a hearing on the merits of his application at which Sanchez was the sole witness. Sanchez was represented by counsel at the hearing. No. 17-1673 3 In an oral decision, the immigration judge denied Sanchez’s application for cancellation of removal and ordered him removed to Mexico. A.R. 368, 369–81. The judge found in the first instance that Sanchez lacked the “good moral character” that is a prerequisite to cancellation of removal, see 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(1)(B), in view of, inter alia, Sanchez’s multiple DUI convictions as well as his decision to ignore court orders to appear and respond to two of the DUI charges, which resulted in multi-year delays in resolving those cases. (Sanchez testified that he failed to appear out of fear he would be deported.). A.R. 376–78. The judge also found, in the alternative, that Sanchez had “simply failed to put a case forward” for the notion that his removal from the country would impose an “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” upon his children. A.R. 379; see § 1229b(b)(1)(D). Sanchez ...

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