Valerio-Ramirez v. Sessions, No. 16-2272 (1st Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
In 1991, Valerio, a citizen of Costa Rica, entered the U.S. without inspection. She was apprehended and placed in deportation proceedings but failed to appear. Valerio's then-boyfriend purchased her a birth certificate and social security card in the name of Rosa Hernandez, a U.S. citizen who lived in Puerto Rico. From 1995-2007, Valerio used Hernandez's identity to secure employment, open lines of credit, purchase cars and a home, and defraud the government of over $176,000 in housing assistance, food stamps, and other welfare benefits. In 2006, Hernandez learned about the fraud. Valerio was apprehended and was found guilty of aggravated identity theft, 18 U.S.C. 1028A and three counts of mail fraud. 18 U.S.C. 1341. After Valerio served her sentence, DHS reopened Valerio’s deportation proceeding but mistakenly stated that she was subject to removal. An IJ denied her applications for asylum and withholding of removal, finding the conviction for aggravated identity theft a "particularly serious crime" under section 1231(b)(3)(B)(ii). Following a remand, the BIA concluded that in deportation and removal proceedings alike, its longstanding multi-factor "Frentescu" framework for determining whether a nonaggravated felony qualifies as a "particularly serious crime" remains the same, and again found Valerio ineligible for withholding. The First Circuit agreed. The nature and circumstances of Valerio's crime were fully and properly considered."