451 F.3d 728 (11th Cir. 2006), 05-10971, Bigler v. U.S. Atty. Gen.

Docket Nº:05-10971.
Citation:451 F.3d 728
Party Name:Yurg BIGLER, Petitioner, v. U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL, Respondent.
Case Date:March 27, 2006
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
 
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451 F.3d 728 (11th Cir. 2006)

Yurg BIGLER, Petitioner,

v.

U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL, Respondent.

No. 05-10971.

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit.

March 27, 2006

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Linda Friedman Ramirez, St. Petersburg, FL, for Bigler.

Anthony P. Nicastro, David V. Bernal, Barry J. Pettinato, OIL, Washington, DC, for Respondent.

Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Before EDMONDSON, Chief Judge, and BLACK and FAY, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM:

This is an immigration case in which Yurg Bigler (Bigler) petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' ("BIA") final order of removal. The BIA affirmed the immigration judge's ("IJ") oral decision, which found Bigler removable pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1227, INA § 237(a)(1)(A). Specifically, the IJ found that Bigler clearly abandoned his status as a lawful permanent resident ("LPR") of the United States and that he did not possess a valid immigrant visa upon re-entry. We affirm and find that substantial evidence supports the ruling.

I. Background

Bigler, a citizen of both Colombia and Switzerland, was originally admitted into the United States by the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS") 1 as an LPR on or about July 14, 1968. Bigler was five at the time he acquired LPR status. He resided in the United States with his parents and his brother until 1988, when Bigler's parents asked him to look after the family farm in Colombia. Bigler subsequently moved to Colombia shortly after marrying a Colombian citizen and, while there, had children and purchased a home.

Bigler resided in Colombia for over seven years. 2 He stated that during the early years of his residency in Colombia, he experienced difficulty re-entering the United States using his LPR card. According to Bigler, this ultimately led him to sign a document at the United States Consulate in Bogota, Colombia on October 31, 1990 abandoning his LPR status, apparently to facilitate re-entry into the United States. The document indicated that Bigler voluntarily abandoned his LPR status as of January 1988. The stated reason for abandonment was that he had not been back to the United States prior to one year. Bigler surrendered his alien registration card at this time, and the Consulate issued him a visitor's visa. This allowed him to re-enter the United States.

Bigler testified that there was some discrepancy with the birth date on his LPR card and that the INS officer told him simply to sign the form and he would

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receive a visitor's visa. He testified that he understood the visitor's visa would allow him to re-enter the United States, at which point Bigler intended to correct the situation with his birth date. Bigler further testified that he did not know he was abandoning his residence in the United States by signing the form. Instead, he understood that the visitor's visa would allow him to re-enter the United States so that he could correct the birth date on his LPR card. 3

Bigler lived in Colombia from January 1988 until December 1995. He testified that during this time, he went "back and forth" to the United States using his visitor's visa. At some point, Bigler divorced, and his two children came to the United States. 4 Bigler testified that in the year 2000, he entered the United States using his visitor's visa and met with an INS officer in Atlanta, Georgia. According to his testimony, Bigler left this meeting with the impression that he would receive a replacement LPR card due to the confusion with his date of birth. He further testified that he waited for the card for eight or nine months and, not having received the card, met with an INS officer in Tampa, Florida to inquire about the delay. Bigler received a replacement LPR card in the year...

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