MIGUEL MENDIAS-MENDOZA, Also Known as Javier Arturo Segovia-Mendias, Petitioner,
JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS, III, U.S. Attorney General. Respondent.
for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals
SMITH, BARKSDALE, and HIGGINSON, Circuit Judges.
E. SMITH, Circuit Judge
Mendias-Mendoza was found deportable by an immigration judge
("IJ") in 1991. In 2014―twenty-three years
after the IJ's final deportation
order―Mendias-Mendoza submitted to the IJ a motion to
reopen his deportation. The IJ denied that motion, the Board
of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") affirmed, and this
petition for review followed. We deny the petition.
a native and citizen of Mexico, entered the United States
without inspection on October 4, 1991. On the same day, the
Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS")
served him with an order to show cause, charging him with
deportability under § 241(a)(1)(B) of the Immigration
and Nationality Act ("INA"), 8 U.S.C. §
1251(a)(1)(B) (1991). The reason was that Mendias-Mendoza had
entered the United States without inspection. Mendias-Mendoza
obtained an attorney, who filed a notice of appearance.
October 16, 1991, the IJ held a deportation hearing. In
connection with the hearing, Mendias-Mendoza entered into a
written stipulation with the INS stating that he
"underst[oo]d the nature and purpose of the
deportation hearing and waive[d] any further explanation
thereof." The stipulation also provided that he
"admit[ted] all of the allegations of fact and
conced[ed] the charge of deportability." The section of
the stipulation allowing Mendias-Mendoza time to seek relief
from deportation was crossed out. The stipulation further
noted that he "agree[d] to accept the decision of the
[IJ]" and "waive[d] appeal." It was signed by
Mendias-Mendoza's attorney, an INS representative, and
the IJ. Based on the stipulation, the IJ determined that
Mendias-Mendoza was deportable as charged and ordered him
deported to Mexico.
November 2014, Mendias-Mendoza, through new counsel, moved to
reopen in the immigration court. He asserted that he had lied
to immigration officials in 1991 and had obtained lawful
permanent resident ("LPR") status in October 1989.
The only evidence in support of his motion was his affidavit,
in which he claimed that he gave the Border Patrol agents a
fake name in 1991, falsely informing them that he was
undocumented. He also averred that he returned to the United
States on the same day he was deported by using his LPR card
and that he renewed his LPR card on two other occasions.
Although not reflected in his affidavit, Mendias-Mendoza
asserted in his motion that his wife had been granted LPR
status in 2009 based on his application. He also maintained
that immigration authorities committed several procedural
errors during his 1991 deportation proceedings. For example,
he asserted that they did not process his fingerprints to
verify his identity.
initially indicated that the motion to reopen was not
untimely, because the time and numerical limitations on such
motions do not apply to proceedings begun before 1992 under
the former INA § 242(b), 8 U.S.C. § 1252(b). Then,
the IJ concluded that Mendias-Mendoza had "provided no
evidence to support his allegation" regarding his LPR
status "other than his affidavit." But, the IJ
explained, Mendias-Mendoza had not demonstrated that his
alleged LPR status was unavailable at the time of his
deportation proceedings. Moreover, the IJ determined that
Mendias-Mendoza failed to establish prima facie
eligibility for adjustment of status or to submit a required
application to adjust his status. Finally, the IJ declined to
exercise his sua sponte discretion to reopen the
dismissed Mendias-Mendoza's appeal, agreeing that he had
provided insufficient evidence that he was an LPR at the time
of his 1991 deportation proceedings. The BIA also concluded
that Mendias-Mendoza had failed to give material evidence
that was previously unavailable, to submit an application for
relief, or to establish prima facie eligibility for
the relief sought. The BIA similarly declined to exercise its
sua sponte authority to reopen.
to reopen deportation proceedings are disfavored, " and
the party seeking relief has a heavy burden.
Altamirano-Lopez v. Gonzales, 435 F.3d 547, 549-50
(5th Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks omitted). We review
"the denial of a motion to reopen under a highly
deferential abuse-of- discretion standard."
Barrios-Cantarero v. Holder, 772 F.3d 1019, 1021
(5th Cir. 2014) (internal quotation marks omitted). The BIA
"abuses its discretion" when it "issues a
decision that is capricious, irrational, utterly without
foundation in the evidence, based on legally erroneous
interpretations of statutes or regulations, or based on
unexplained departures from regulations or established
review the BIA's conclusions of law de novo and
its findings of fact for substantial evidence. Id.
Under "substantial evidence" review, "this
court may not overturn the BIA's factual findings unless
the evidence compels a contrary conclusion."
Gomez-Palacios v. Holder, 560 F.3d 354, 358 (5th
Cir. 2009). Finally, we review only the order of the BIA
"unless the IJ's decision has some impact on the
BIA's decision, " Mikhael v. INS, 115 F.3d
299, 302 (5th Cir. 1997), in which case we review the
IJ's decision as well, Wang v. Holder, 569 F.3d
531, 536 (5th Cir. 2009). Because ...