Velasquez-Escovar v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 09-29-2014
  • Case #: 10-73714
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Tallman for the Court; Circuit Judges Silverman and Rawlinson
  • Full Text Opinion

As long as aliens provide a current address to the government and notify the government when they move, they are entitled to notice for a removal hearing before they can be removed from the United States.

Odilia de Jesus Velasquez-Escovar (“Velasquez”) admitted her alienage after it was discovered she had entered the United States illegally during a routine traffic stop. Before being released, Immigration officials at the Corpus Christi Border Patrol Station obtained Velasquez’s current address and gave her a Notice to Appear (“NTA”), which required her to appear at a removal hearing. The immigration officials mistakenly listed an old address on the NTA. As a result, Velasquez never received the notice with the date and time of the hearing resulting in her missing the hearing and being ordered removed in absentia. When she learned of the removal order, she filed a motion to reopen. An immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) dismissed Velasquez’s motion, ruling that she was not entitled to notice because she did not provide her current address. However, the BIA never refuted Velasquez’s claim that she did supply her current address and that she never moved. On appeal the panel noted that immigration statutes “create, at a minimum, a right to written notice served by mail” and “aliens are entitled to notice unless they fail to give a current address to the government or fail to let the government know when they move.” The panel determined that the BIA acted arbitrarily by providing no reason for discounting Velasquez’s unrefuted claim that she did provide her correct address. Therefore, since Velasquez had provided her address, she was entitled to notice and her PETITION is GRANTED.

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