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United States v. Ramirez-Cortinas
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
945 F.3d 286 (2019)
Uvalde Ramirez-Cortinas (defendant), who was not a United States citizen, was convicted of crimes in the United States, including bail jumping. An immigration judge found that the bail-jumping conviction qualified as an aggravated felony and informed Ramirez-Cortinas that he would only be able to avoid deportation if he proved that he would be subject to persecution if deported. Ramirez-Cortinas presented no evidence of potential persecution and testified that he was not afraid to return to Mexico. Ramirez-Cortinas appealed the deportation order to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), arguing that the immigration judge erred in finding that the bail-jumping conviction constituted an aggravated felony. The BIA denied Ramirez-Cortinas’s appeal but, in its decision, incorrectly stated that Ramirez-Cortinas did not argue in his appeal that the bail-jumping conviction was not an aggravated felony. Ramirez-Cortinas did not appeal the BIA decision and was deported to Mexico in 2013. In 2018 Ramirez-Cortinas was indicted in federal district court for illegal reentry into the United States under § 1326(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the act). Ramirez-Cortinas moved to dismiss the indictment under § 1326(d), which allowed a defendant to collaterally attack a deportation order to defend against a charge of illegal reentry. The district court granted the motion to dismiss, finding that the BIA’s error deprived Ramirez-Cortinas of judicial review and that Ramirez-Cortinas suffered actual prejudice because there was a reasonable likelihood that, if not for the errors, Ramirez-Cortinas might have avoided deportation. The government appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Duncan, J.)
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