The Board of Immigration Appeals recently published two new cases. One, about NACARA (Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act) will have limited effect on most immigrants’ lives as very few people still qualify for this form of relief from removal. The second case is another example of why every criminal defendant who is not a citizen needs a crimmigration attorney to advise them during their criminal prosecution.
Matter of Castro-Lopez, 26 I&N Dec. 693 (BIA 2015); In a decision limited to NACARA (Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act) eligibility, the Board held that when a respondent was subject to multiple grounds of removability, the ten-year continuous physical presence requirement begins at the point of the most recent ground triggering removal. In this case, the respondent entered without admission or parole in 1996 and this triggered his first ground of removability. The respondent was subsequently convicted of possession of cocaine in 2012, triggering an additional basis for removal. The Board held that this respondent did not qualify for NACARA (heightened standard due to the criminal conviction), because the respondent could not show ten years of continuous physical presence after the 2012 conviction.
Matter of Calvillo Garcia, 26 I&N Dec. 697 (BIA 2015); The Board held that when a respondent is sentenced to serve a year or more in a substance abuse treatment facility, that sentence constitutes a “term of confinement” as is required to support certain aggravated felonies under INA § 101(a)(43). The Board focused on the fact that a person sentenced to this type of treatment facility is not free to leave during the term of the sentence. The Board reasoned that “term of confinement” is not limited to actual jail time, but can include other forms of confinement, including custodial treatment facilities.