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Dominguez-Pulido v. Lynch

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

May 5, 2016

Gustavo Dominguez-Pulido, Petitioner,
v.
Loretta E. Lynch, Attorney General of the United States, Respondent.

Argued March 29, 2016

Petitions for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals. No. A206-014-523

Before Flaum, Easterbrook, and Sykes, Circuit Judges.

Flaum, Circuit Judge.

Petitioner Gustavo Dominguez-Pu-lido unlawfully entered the United States with his parents in or around 1993 without inspection. Approximately fifteen years after entering the United States, Dominguez-Pulido was convicted of a felony offense under Illinois law. Dominguez-Pulido was subsequently served with a Notice to Appear ("NTA"). An Immigration Judge ("IJ") concluded that he was removable as an alien present without admission and denied various forms of relief from removal. The Board of Immigration Appeals (the "Board") dismissed Dominguez-Pulido's appeal and denied his two motions to reopen proceedings.

Dominguez-Pulido seeks review of the three decisions entered by the Board of Immigration Appeals. In light of 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(C), which limits judicial review of final orders for removal that involve a conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude, our review is limited to questions of law and constitutional claims, § 1252(a)(2)(D). We find no reason to upset the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals, and so we deny Dominguez-Pulido's consolidated petitions for review.

I. Background

On September 22, 2008, Dominguez-Pulido was convicted of burglary, a felony offense under Illinois law.[1] 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/19-1. Dominguez-Pulido pleaded guilty to burglary of a motor vehicle with intent to commit the offense of theft therein.

On October 17, 2013, a Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") officer served Dominguez-Pulido with a NTA. The NTA charged Dominguez-Pulido with removability as an alien present in the United States without admission or parole under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(6)(A)(i), and as an alien convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude under § 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I).

Dominguez-Pulido appeared before an IJ at a hearing on February 5, 2014. He refused to admit or deny the NTA's factual allegations, including the charges of removability. Dominguez-Pulido also submitted to the IJ a motion filed in his post-conviction proceeding in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, in which he sought to vacate his guilty plea. In an affidavit attached to that motion, Dominguez-Pulido averred that he would not have entered a guilty plea if he had been aware of the immigration consequences.

Dominguez-Pulido next appeared before the IJ on March 10, 2014. The IJ determined, based upon the government's submission of a Record of Deportable/Inadmissible Alien, or Form I-213, that Dominguez-Pulido was a native and citizen of Mexico who entered the United States without inspection. The IJ reserved ruling on the criminal charge of removability. Dominguez-Pulido indicated that he feared being deported to Mexico and intended to seek relief from removal by filing applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture ("CAT"), as well as voluntary departure in the event that his applications were denied.

Dominguez-Pulido filed his written applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under CAT on April 16, 2014. In the applications, he listed his nationality as "Mexican" and his place of birth as "Durango, Mexico." He averred that his parents were also born in Durango and that he entered the United States without inspection. He claimed that he feared criminal violence in Mexico and abuse by corrupt policemen.

Dominguez-Pulido presented evidence and testimony in support of his applications at a hearing on June 17, 2014. He testified that he feared returning to Mexico based on news reports of violence and corruption, and described how two friends, both of whom were U.S. citizens, were seriously injured by criminals during visits to Mexico. He claimed that he would likely become homeless in Mexico since he had no relatives there and would have difficulty finding employment since he was not educated in Mexico. He further testified that criminals would likely kidnap him to obtain a ransom from his relatives, and that his family's lack of money would lead to his eventual murder. In support of this testimony, Dominguez-Pulido submitted a 2014 Travel Warning issued by the U.S. State Department as well as the State Department's 2012 Human Rights Report for Mexico. Dominguez-Pulido's brother, Alberto Dominguez, testified that he believed Dominguez-Pulido would be kidnapped and killed if he returned to Mexico.

The IJ sustained the charges of removability and denied Dominguez-Pulido's applications for relief. The IJ found that the DHS met its burden of demonstrating Dominguez-Pu-lido's alienage and concluded that he was removable as an alien present without admission. § 1182(a)(6)(A)(i). In addition, the IJ concluded that Dominguez-Pulido's burglary conviction categorically qualified as a crime involving moral turpitude. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I).

With regard to the applications for relief, the IJ found that Dominguez-Pulido was barred from asylum because he failed to timely file his application. See 8 U.S.C. ยง 1158(a)(2)(B), (D) (one-year time limit on filing an application for asylum and possible exceptions). The IJ also denied the application for withholding of removal. The IJ found that Dominguez-Pulido failed to demonstrate past persecution, and therefore there was no presumption of future persecution. Additionally, the IJ denied the application for ...


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