Juncaj v. Holder, 031609 FED6, 07-3539
|Opinion Judge:||FREDERICK P. STAMP, JR., District Judge.|
|Party Name:||ROKO JUNCAJ; LJENA JUNCAJ; VERA JUNCAJ; TOMA JUNCAJ; ANTON JUNCAJ, Petitioners, v. ERIC H. HOLDER, JR. Attorney General, [*] Respondent.|
|Judge Panel:||Before: MARTIN and NORRIS, Circuit Judges, and STAMP, District Judge.|
|Case Date:||March 16, 2009|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit|
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
ON APPEAL FROM THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION APPEALS
Roko Juncaj ("Roko") entered the United States in non-immigrant status on or about August 13, 1996, and was later granted administrative asylum. His wife, Ljena, and their three children, Anton, Toma, and Vera, subsequently obtained derivative asylee status as Roko's dependents. On May 16, 2001, the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("the Service")1 terminated the asylee status of the entire Juncaj family after the Service made a finding of fraud in Roko's asylum application, making him ineligible for asylum at the time it was granted.
The Service then initiated removal proceedings. During removal proceedings, Roko challenged the finding of fraud and renewed his asylum application at a hearing in which one of the many immigration judges who presided over this case informed him that he was not required to file a new application to effect renewal. Subsequently, a different immigration judge determined that Roko had abandoned his asylum application by failing to meet a court-imposed deadline for filing applications, after which a third immigration judge ordered the petitioners removed. The petitioners requested review by the Bureau of Immigration Appeals ("BIA").2 Without comment, the BIA upheld the Immigration Court. This appeal followed.3
The petitioners argue that the Immigration Court violated their due process rights by denying Roko a merits hearing on his asylum application and the allegation of fraud forming the basis for the Service's decision to terminate asylum. This Court agrees. For the reasons that follow, this Court concludes that the order finding all forms of relief abandoned must be vacated to the extent that it applies to the previously filed asylum application; that the removal order, which was predicated upon the order finding all forms of relief abandoned, must be vacated; and that this action must be remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Roko Juncaj entered the United States in non-immigrant visitor status on August 13, 1996, and was authorized to remain until October 22, 1996. Sometime thereafter, he applied for administrative asylum, which the Service granted during the summer of 1997.4 Roko then filed asylum petitions on behalf of his wife and three children, who were subsequently admitted to the United States in dependent, or derivative, asylee status on October 14, 1998.
On May 16, 2001, the Service terminated Roko's asylee status, which automatically terminated his dependents' derivative status. According to the termination notice, when Roko's wife appeared for an interview at the United States Consulate to secure her entry visa, she repudiated the testimony that Roko had offered at his asylum interview.5 The termination notice states that Roko appeared for a termination interview at the Service on March 5, 2001, and that he was unable to rebut the information provided by the Consulate.6 The Service then issued Roko at least two Notices to Appear ("NTA"): one was dated September 6, 2001, and the other, which was later withdrawn, was dated May 30, 2003.7 The September 6, 2001 NTA issued to Roko alleges:
1. You are not a citizen or national of the United States[;]
2. You are a native of Yugoslavia 8 and a citizen of Yugoslavia;
3. You were admitted to the U.S. at or near NY on or about August 13, 1996 as a non-immigrant visitor with authorization to remain until October 22, 1996;
4. You have remained in the U.S. beyond October 22, 1996, without authorization from the Service; [and]
5. On May 16, 2001, your administrative grant of asylum was terminated because you materially misrepresented your claim in order to procure your admission as an immigrant.
The NTA then charges that Roko is subject to removal under INA § 237(a)(1)(B) because he has remained in the United States beyond the authorized period of stay granted when he was admitted to the United States as a non-immigrant visitor. In other words, under the charge presented in the NTA, Roko is subject to removal as a non-immigrant visa overstay.
NTAs were also issued to Roko's dependents on September 6, 2001. As to each dependent, the NTAs assert:
1. You are not a citizen or national of the United States;
2. You are national of Yugoslavia and a citizen of Yugoslavia;
3. You were admitted to the United States at or near Newark, N.J. on or about October 14, 1998, as a dependant asylee[;]
4. The principal applicant's asylum was terminated on May 16, 2001[;]
5. You are an immigrant not in possession of a valid immigrant visa, reentry permit, border crossing identification card, or other valid entry document required by the Act.
The NTAs then charge that Roko's dependents are subject to removal under INA § 212(a)(7)(A)(i)(I) for unlawful entry without proper documentation. On April 17, 2002, the Service filed the NTAs with the Immigration Court, thus initiating the removal proceedings.
At a hearing on August 8, 2003, held before Immigration Judge Christian, 9 Roko admitted allegation 1, that he was not a citizen or national of the United States; admitted allegation 2, that he was a native and citizen of Yugoslavia; and admitted allegation 3, that he was admitted as a nonimmigrant visitor at or near New York on or about August 13, 1996, with authorization to remain until October 22, 1996. Roko denied allegation 4, that he had remained in the United States beyond October 22, 1996, without authorization; and he denied allegation 5, that on May 16, 2001, his administrative grant of asylum was terminated because he had materially misrepresented his claim to procure his admission as an immigrant. Regarding allegation 5, Roko admitted that his grant of asylum had been terminated but denied that the termination was proper.
Immigration Judge Christian made a finding of removability;10 set a deadline of December 31, 2003 for filing alternate forms of relief; set the matter for a November 8, 2004 hearing on the merits of Roko's asylum application, which necessarily implicated the Service's finding of fraud which had precipitated the termination...
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