Sanchez v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 12-26-2012
  • Case #: 08-72430
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam; Circuit Judges Graber, Ikuta, and Hurwitz
  • Full Text Opinion

Since the Federal Rules of Evidence do not apply to immigration hearings, the proper standard for admitting evidence is "whether the evidence is probative and its admission is fundamentally fair." Where an appellant claims a translation of her statements is inaccurate, but does not offer a corrected translation of the statements, the statements are admissible.

Border Patrol agents stopped Griselda Sanchez at the Mexico-California border while she was trying to re-enter the United States. In the car, in addition to her own children and husband, was Andrea Cortez-Miranda, a minor without the documents necessary to enter the United States. Sanchez stated that she intended to take the girl to live with Sanchez and her family as a favor to the girl's mother. During the stop, Border Patrol agents filled out Form I-213, completing the form with Sanchez's translated statements. Sanchez was charged with "being an alien who 'knowingly has encouraged, induced, assisted, abetted, or aided any other alien to enter or try to enter the United States in violation of law," a violation of § 212(a)(6)(E)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(6)(E)(i). Sanchez motioned for termination. The Immigration Judge, looking only at Form I-213, denied Sanchez's motion. The Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed, and Sanchez appealed again, this time claiming that Form I-213 is hearsay and therefore inadmissible, because she was not able to cross-examine the agent who prepared the form. Sanchez also claimed that Form I-213 is inaccurate. Finally, Sanchez claimed to be only a passive participant in smuggling the girl into the United States. The Court held that the Federal Rules of Evidence do not apply to immigration hearings. Instead, the test for admissibility of evidence is "whether the evidence is probative and its admission is fundamentally fair." Regarding the accuracy of the statements on the form, the Court found that Sanchez did not offer an accurate translation, giving the Court no reason to believe the statements were inaccurate. The Court found that Sanchez "actively and knowingly" participated in smuggling Cortez-Miranda into the United States, violating § 1182(a)(6)(E)(i). Petition for Review DENIED.

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