Oyeniran v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 03-06-2012
  • Case #: 09-73683; 10-70689
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: District Judge Brewster for the Court; Circuit Judges McKeown and M. Smith
  • Full Text Opinion

The Board of Immigration Appeals is bound to its prior determinations of past incidents of government-sponsored violence under collateral estoppel, and it abuses its discretion when it fails to reopen a proceeding when the petitioner presents new evidence that is sufficient, dramatic, and compelling.

Oyeniran sought review of his denial of protection under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”) and the denial of his motion to reopen the case to consider new evidence. Oyeniran is a citizen of Nigeria who was admitted to the United States but later found removable after several criminal convictions. Oyeniran obtained deferral under the CAT in 2005 due to his family’s dangerous religious and political activities in Nigeria. In 2009, the Government again initiated administrative removal proceedings. This time he was denied deferral and the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) further held that the evidence from the prior proceedings was not sufficient to warrant a deferral. Oyeniran moved to reopen to submit evidence of a Nigerian warrant for his arrest, stating that he did not have the evidence at the time of the prior proceedings. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that collateral estoppel binds the BIA to its prior determinations regarding past incidents of government violence against Oyeniran and his family. Further, the Court concluded that the BIA abused its discretion in denying Oyeniran’s motion to reopen, finding that Oyeniran had presented new evidence of a warrant for his arrest in Nigeria that was significant, dramatic, and compelling. PETITIONS FOR REVIEW GRANTED; REVERSED and REMANDED.

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