Champion v. Holder, No. 09-3065

CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Seventh Circuit
Writing for the CourtWILLIAMS
Citation626 F.3d 952
PartiesOlaronke Olufunmilayo CHAMPION, also known as Olaronke Adeyemi, Petitioner, v. Eric H. HOLDER, Jr., Attorney General of the United States, Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. 09-3065
Decision Date22 November 2010
626 F.3d 952

Olaronke Olufunmilayo CHAMPION, also known as Olaronke Adeyemi, Petitioner,
v.
Eric H. HOLDER, Jr., Attorney General of the United States, Respondent.


No. 09-3065.

United States Court of Appeals,
Seventh Circuit.


Argued May 19, 2010.
Decided Nov. 22, 2010.

626 F.3d 954

Taher Kameli, Attorney, John R. Floss (argued), Attorney, Kameli & Associates, P.C., Chicago, IL, for Petitioner.

Kathryn Deangelis (argued), Attorney, Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for Respondent.

Before O'CONNOR 1, Associate Justice, and WILLIAMS and SYKES, Circuit Judges.

WILLIAMS, Circuit Judge.

Olaronke Champion, a citizen of Nigeria, legally entered the United States in 1988. The government initiated removal proceedings against her in 2005. Champion applied for cancellation of removal based on the hardship that would result to her minor children if she would be deported. The immigration judge ("IJ") denied her application, in part because he concluded that other family members, including the children's father who was also under removal proceedings, were available to support the children in the event that Champion was deported. The Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") affirmed the denial of relief, and Champion petitioned this court for review. We affirm the BIA's findings with respect to Champion's due process claims because she had a full opportunity to present her case and the IJ did not consider improper information. However, because the BIA did not address Champion's claim that the possibility of the deportation of the children's father would constitute an extremely unusual hardship, we remand for further consideration.

I. BACKGROUND

Olaronke Champion is a native and citizen of Nigeria. She entered the United States in 1988 under a tourist visa. In 1991, she married a United States citizen and applied for status adjustment based on her marriage. Immigration and Naturalization

626 F.3d 955
Services denied her application, finding that Champion had failed to provide sufficient evidence that an earlier Nigerian marriage had been officially terminated. In 2005, the government commenced removal proceedings against Champion. The government initially charged her with committing visa fraud under the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA") § 212(a)(6)(C)(i) based on the government's belief that Champion had submitted a fraudulent Nigerian divorce decree in conjunction with her application for status adjustment. The government twice amended these charges, first alleging that she had attempted to enter the United States without a valid entry document in violation of INA § 212(a)(7)(A)(i)(I), and then asserting that she had overstayed her visa in violation of INA § 237(a)(1)(B). Ultimately, the government only pursued the charge concerning Champion's stay in the United States past the expiration of her visa.

Champion conceded removability but requested cancellation of removal under 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(1).2 At her hearing before the IJ, the government stipulated that Champion satisfied the cancellation requirements for moral character, lack of convictions, and physical presence for cancellation, leaving "exceptional or extremely unusual hardship" to her family as the sole issue before the court. As grounds for finding exceptional hardship, Champion testified that she was the primary caregiver for her two minor daughters, Tomi and Toni Adeyemi (aged 14 and 11 at the time), both of whom were born in the United States. Champion stated that she was concerned about taking her daughters to Nigeria not only because it would be very foreign to them, but also because she feared that they might be subjected to female circumcision. Champion also has a son, Tobi, who was 20 years old at the time and was attending college in New York. Tobi was also under removal proceedings. Champion and her two daughters share a home in Hinsdale, Illinois with Champion's Nigerian ex-husband, Yomi Adeyemi, who is also the father of the three children. Champion explained that she and Yomi came to the United States together, after which he became a physician and she a registered nurse. According to Champion, Yomi has played an active role in supporting the children emotionally and financially. As for the rest of Champion's relatives in the United States, she has three siblings who have obtained lawful resident status, including two sisters who reside in Illinois and a brother who lives in Atlanta.

At the end of the hearing, Champion's attorney requested closing argument, but the IJ declined, saying that he "would ask [counsel] to reserve on the closing argument" because there were "no significant issues of law or really even fact, that needed to be discussed." The IJ then asked whether there was "anything else before he issue[d] an oral decision," and Champion's attorney did not reply.

The IJ determined that Champion had not demonstrated that she qualified for cancellation of removal because she had not shown that her daughters would suffer the requisite exceptional or extremely unusual hardship if she were removed. The IJ specified that the children could still

626 F.3d 956
rely on their father's support in the United States as well as that of other close relatives. Champion appealed, arguing that the IJ failed to consider a number of factors important to the hardship analysis, including Yomi's potential deportation. Champion also asserted that her due process rights were violated when the IJ...

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18 practice notes
  • In re Castro-Tum, Interim Decision #3926
    • United States
    • U.S. DOJ Board of Immigration Appeals
    • May 17, 2018
    ...of the hearing"—provides general authority in connection with the presentation of argumentPage 286 and evidence. E.g., Champion v. Holder, 626 F.3d 952, 957-58 (7th Cir. 2010) (section 1240.1(c) allows immigration judges to refuse to allow closing arguments); Pulisir v. Mukasey, 524 F.3d 30......
  • In re Castro-Tum, Interim Decision #3926
    • United States
    • U.S. DOJ Board of Immigration Appeals
    • May 17, 2018
    ...course of the hearing"—provides general authority in connection with the presentation of argument and evidence. E.g., Champion v. Holder, 626 F.3d 952, 957-58 (7th Cir. 2010) (section 1240.1(c) allows immigration judges to refuse to allow closing arguments); Pulisir v. Mukasey, 524 F.3d 302......
  • Marin–garcia v. Holder, No. 10–3912.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • July 22, 2011
    ...a discretionary form of relief, [and therefore] does not confer onto [the petitioner] a liberty or property interest.” Champion v. Holder, 626 F.3d 952, 957 (7th Cir.2010). Therefore, the procedural due process claim fails. Marin–Garcia also argues that removing him would unconstitutionally......
  • FH-T v. Holder, No. 12–2471.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • July 23, 2013
    ...unlawful ones, and its failure to adequately address such a critical component of his claim is grounds for a remand. Champion v. Holder, 626 F.3d 952, 957 (7th Cir.2010) (“Finding that the BIA erred by failing to consider the impact of Yomi's potential deportation, we remand this matter in ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • In re Castro-Tum, Interim Decision #3926
    • United States
    • U.S. DOJ Board of Immigration Appeals
    • May 17, 2018
    ...of the hearing"—provides general authority in connection with the presentation of argumentPage 286 and evidence. E.g., Champion v. Holder, 626 F.3d 952, 957-58 (7th Cir. 2010) (section 1240.1(c) allows immigration judges to refuse to allow closing arguments); Pulisir v. Mukasey, 524 F.3d 30......
  • In re Castro-Tum, Interim Decision #3926
    • United States
    • U.S. DOJ Board of Immigration Appeals
    • May 17, 2018
    ...course of the hearing"—provides general authority in connection with the presentation of argument and evidence. E.g., Champion v. Holder, 626 F.3d 952, 957-58 (7th Cir. 2010) (section 1240.1(c) allows immigration judges to refuse to allow closing arguments); Pulisir v. Mukasey, 524 F.3d 302......
  • Marin–garcia v. Holder, No. 10–3912.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • July 22, 2011
    ...a discretionary form of relief, [and therefore] does not confer onto [the petitioner] a liberty or property interest.” Champion v. Holder, 626 F.3d 952, 957 (7th Cir.2010). Therefore, the procedural due process claim fails. Marin–Garcia also argues that removing him would unconstitutionally......
  • FH-T v. Holder, No. 12–2471.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • July 23, 2013
    ...unlawful ones, and its failure to adequately address such a critical component of his claim is grounds for a remand. Champion v. Holder, 626 F.3d 952, 957 (7th Cir.2010) (“Finding that the BIA erred by failing to consider the impact of Yomi's potential deportation, we remand this matter in ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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