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Palma-Martinez v. Lynch

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

May 11, 2015

JOSE PALMA-MARTINEZ, Petitioner,
v.
LORETTA E. LYNCH, [*] Attorney General of the United States, Respondent

Argued February 10, 2015.

On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals. No. A098-653-358.

Before POSNER, MANION, and TINDER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1148

Manion, Circuit Judge.

Jose Miguel Palma-Martinez petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision affirming the Immigration Judge's (IJ) order of removal. Because the IJ neither erred in holding that Palma-Martinez was ineligible for a waiver nor abused his discretion in denying Palma-Martinez a continuance, we deny the petition.

I. Background

Palma-Martinez is a native of Guatemala. He became a lawful permanent resident in 2007. In 2011, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to knowingly transfer a false identification document in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028(f). On May 6, 2013, the government commenced removal proceedings against him with a notice to appear in immigration court charging that he was removable under Section 237(a)(2)(A)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) for having committed a crime of moral turpitude[1] within five years after admission. See 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(i).

Page 1149

Before the IJ, Palma-Martinez admitted the allegations contained in the notice, but requested a continuance because he had filed a motion to set aside and vacate his conviction. He also argued that he was eligible for a stand-alone waiver of inadmissibility under INA § 212(h) granted nunc pro tunc. See 8 U.S.C. § 1182(h). On September 30, 2013, the IJ ordered that Palma-Martinez be removed because he had not demonstrated good cause for a continuance and was ineligible for a waiver under § 212(h). On March 21, 2014, the BIA affirmed the IJ's decision. Palma-Martinez appeals.

II. Analysis

" When the BIA adopts and affirms the IJ's decision and adds its own analysis ... we review both decisions. We apply the principles of Chevron deference to the BIA's interpretation of the immigration laws." Halim v. Holder, 755 F.3d 506, 511 (7th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted). A determination of whether an immigrant is eligible for a § 212(h) waiver is a legal one which we review de novo. Papazoglou v. Holder, 725 F.3d 790, 792 (7th Cir. 2013). The granting of a continuance is within the sound discretion of the IJ and is reviewed for abuse of discretion. Hassan v. I.N.S., 110 F.3d 490, 492 (7th Cir. 1997).

A. Palma-Martinez was ineligible for a stand-alone waiver.

Under INA § 212(h) the Attorney General may waive the ground of inadmissibility applicable to Palma-Martinez (the crime of moral turpitude) if the denial of admission would result in extreme hardship to a lawfully resident family member and he is applying or reapplying for a visa, admission, or an adjustment of status. 8 U.S.C. § 1182 (h)(1)(B), (C)(2). According to 8 C.F.R. § 1245.1(f), the sole means of requesting a § 212(h) waiver for an alien in the United States is to submit an application concurrent with an application for adjustment of status. Palma-Martinez ...


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