Molina v. Holder, No. 13-9573 (10th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Husband and wife Alberto Martinez Molina and Cristina Ramirez Rivera were Mexican citizens subject to final orders of removal from the United States. After an immigration judge declined to cancel their removal orders, the couple filed a motion to reopen based on ineffective representation of counsel. With the motion, they submitted evidence that they had resided in the United States since 1998. The Board of Immigration Appeals denied the motion, reasoning that the couple had not shown prejudice because the evidence that they submitted: (1) could not overcome discrepancies in their testimony, and (2) was the same or substantially similar to the evidence considered by the immigration judge. The spouses then filed a petition for review, arguing that: (1) the Board abused its discretion in rejecting their claim for ineffective representation, and (2) the immigration judge failed to consider the entire record. As to Ms. Ramirez, the Tenth Circuit affirmed: the Board acted within its discretion in rejecting her ineffective-representation claim, and Ms. Ramirez did not exhaust her claim involving failure of the immigration judge to consider the entire record. As to Mr. Martinez, the Court remanded to the Board: Mr. Martinez did not exhaust his claim involving failure to consider the entire record, but he did exhaust his ineffective-representation claim, and the Board abused its discretion when it mistakenly concluded that the newly submitted evidence was the same or substantially similar to the evidence considered by the immigration judge.