October 23, 2017
for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals
Bauer and Hamilton, Circuit Judges, and Darrow, District
Darrow, District Judge.
case presents a question closely connected with one this
Court recently decided: when does a conviction for violating
a protective order make a person ineligible for the
cancellation of removal proceedings? See Garcia-Hernandez
v. Boente, 847 F.3d 869 (7th Cir. 2017).
Rodriguez was placed in removal proceedings- that is, she was
scheduled to be deported-some 10 years after she entered this
country from Mexico without inspection by United States
authorities. She sought cancellation of her removal on the
ground that it would cause her five dependent children, whom
she raises alone, exceptional hardship. See 8 U.S.C. §
1229b(b)(1). One of her children is a cancer survivor who
requires routine doctor visits to monitor his remission. The
immigration judge who handled Rodriguez's case decided
that she was statutorily ineligible for cancellation because
she had been convicted of violating an order of protection in
2001. See 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(E)(ii). The Board of
Immigration Appeals affirmed this decision. Because Rodriguez
is ineligible for cancellation, we agree, and deny the
petition for review.
Factual and Procedural Background
entered the United States without inspection on January 11,
1999. On February 2, 2000, her boyfriend, Manuel Ramirez,
sought a restraining order against her in Dodge County,
Wisconsin, claiming that he feared for his safety after
episodes of domestic violence. The circuit court granted his
request and issued a temporary restraining order pending a
hearing. In a one-page form order, the court indicated that
Ramirez was in imminent danger of physical harm, and ordered
that Rodriguez avoid his residence and any personal contact
testified before the immigration judge that because she had
nowhere else to go, and because she had two small children
and all her belongings in the apartment she had been sharing
with Ramirez, she did not leave. She was charged by criminal
complaint on February 14, 2000, with knowingly violating a
temporary restraining order. Wis.Stat. § 813.12(8)(a).
The complainant, a police officer, indicated that Ramirez had
met with him on February 5 and said that Rodriguez refused to
leave the apartment. Ramirez also told the officer that he
and Rodriguez had run into each other on the street and had
an argument. Rodriguez pleaded no contest to the charge on
April 6, 2001, and to a charge of misdemeanor bail jumping,
Wis.Stat. § 946.49(1)(a), which is not at issue in this
Department of Homeland Security charged Rodriguez with
removability and began removal proceedings against her on
October 26, 2009, by filing a Notice to Appear in immigration
court. 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(6)(A)(i). Rodriguez conceded
the factual allegations contained in the Notice, but
indicated that she would seek cancellation of her removal.
Attorney General may cancel the removal of an unlawfully
admitted alien, or adjust her status to a permanent resident,
if she has met all of several conditions: if she has been
continuously present in the United States for 10 years, 8
U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(1)(A); "has been a person of good
moral character" during that time, id. §
1229b(b)(1)(B); establishes that removal would cause an
"exceptional and extremely unusual hardship" to her
child, id. § 1229b(b)(1)(D); and, relevant
here, has not been convicted of certain enumerated offenses,
id. § 1229b(b)(1)(C), including violation of a
protection order, id. § 1227(a)(2)(E)(ii).
Specifically, an alien is not eligible for cancellation if,
after she has been enjoined under a protection order, a
"court determines [that she] has engaged in conduct that
violates the portion of a protection order that involves
protection against credible threats of violence, repeated
harassment, or bodily injury to the person or persons for
whom the protection order was issued ... ."Id.
the government made more than one argument opposing
cancellation before the immigration judge, the judge decided
that Rodriguez's conviction for violating the temporary
restraining order in Wisconsin settled the matter, and rested
her decision on that basis alone. The immigration judge
thought that because Wisconsin law requires a judge to
consider the danger posed to a victim and any pattern of
abusive conduct by the perpetrator, Wis.Stat. §
813.12(3)(a)(2)(aj), a misdemeanor conviction for having
violated such an order is "categorically a removable
offense, " Imm. J. Order 3, Pet'r Br. App. B.
Rodriguez appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA),
which conducted its own review and dismissed the appeal
pursuant to a written decision. BIA Decision, Pet'r Br.
App. A. The BIA decided that "the 'avoidance of
residence' provision is a portion of the TRO related to
protecting against future threats of violence, harassment, or
bodily injury, " id. at 2, and that since the
conviction documents show Rodriguez violated that portion,
she was ineligible for cancellation.
appealed the dismissal. We have jurisdiction to consider the
appeal, as it presents a question of law. 8 U.S.C. §
1252(a). Because the BIA issued its own opinion, we review
that opinion, rather than the immigration judge's.
Sanchez v. Holder,757 F.3d 712, 717 (7th Cir.
2014). We review questions of law de novo. Karroumeh v.
Lynch,820 F.3d 890, 896 (7th Cir. 2016). Insofar as the
BIA carefully and consistently interprets ambiguous
immigration statutes, we apply the principles of deference
enunciated in Chevron, ...