Mata v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: January 16, 2015
  • Case #: 14-185
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Court Below: 558 Fed. Appx. 366 (5th Cir. 2014).
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether the Fifth Circuit erred in determining that it had no jurisdiction to review a petitioner's request that the Board of Immigration Appeals equitably toll a deadline on his motion to reopen due to ineffective assistance of counsel under 8 C.F.R. § 1003.2(c)(2).

Petitioner, a citizen of Mexico, was convicted of a misdemeanor and ordered to remove himself from the country. He conceded removability and sought cancellation of removal under 8 U.S.C. §1229(a)(b), which was denied. Petitioner timely appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), but his attorney failed to file a brief. Over 90 days later, in violation of the statute of limitations set by 8 C.F.R. § 1003.2(c)(2), Petitioner filed a motion to reopen with new counsel, arguing ineffective assistance of counsel against his prior attorney. The BIA refused to equitably toll the deadline. The BIA denied the motion to reopen and to reconsider the motion, and determined that Mr. Mata was not prejudiced in the decision.

Petitioner then asked the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to overrule the BIA’s decision. Contrary to decisions held in the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits, the Fifth Circuit dismissed the case stating that it had no jurisdiction over the case because there is no meaningful standard to use to judge the BIA’s use of its sua sponte power.

The Court granted certiorari to settle the circuit split as to whether the circuit court has jurisdiction to review a petitioner's request that the Board of Immigration Appeals equitably toll the deadline on his motion to reopen due to ineffective assistance of counsel under 8 C.F.R. § 1003.2(c)(2).

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