Board of Immigration Appeals Limits Cancellation of Removal

Press Releases

February 6, 2018

Protecting the rule of law and the integrity of our immigration system

WASHINGTON – The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has released a decision in the case Matter of Castillo Angulo. In its opinion, the BIA agreed with the reasoning in a friend-of-the-court brief that the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) had filed in the case.

Rosalina Castillo Angulo, an alien, claims that she entered the United States by being “waved through” at the border by a U.S. official who did not properly inspect her as part of the admission process. The BIA had asked for public comment on whether being “waved through” at the border should be considered “being admitted into any status” for the purpose of cancellation of removal.

Cancellation of removal is a much-sought-after form of discretionary relief that aliens can apply for while in removal proceedings. To be eligible for cancellation of removal, an alien must prove that he or she (1) has resided in the United States continuously for seven years; (2) after having been admitted; (3) in any status. Answering the call of the BIA, IRLI argued that a “wave through” at the border did not constitute “being admitted into any status.”

The stakes in this decision are high. If being “waived through” at the border were to start the clock running for eligibility for cancellation of removal, many aliens would have a huge incentive to lie about when and how they entered the country. Because of the very nature of a “wave through,” their stories could not be checked.

Fortunately, the BIA correctly held that a “wave through” did not constitute an admission into any status. Aligning itself with IRLI’s arguments, the BIA found that ruling otherwise would both conflict with legislative history and incentivize aliens to abuse our immigration laws in an effort to receive relief from removal.

“IRLI applauds the BIA’s holding that the statutory language ‘admitted into any status’ does not include unlawful status,” IRLI’s executive director, Dale L. Wilcox, commented. “The BIA closed an important loophole that would have permitted illegal aliens to twist the language of the law even more than usual to give themselves benefits to which they are plainly not entitled.”

The case is Matter of Castillo Angulo, 27 I&N Dec. 194 (BIA 2018).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • [email protected]

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