Jimenez-Morales v. U.S. Attorney General, No. 14-15359 (11th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
An IJ found that petitioner did not have a reasonable fear of persecution or torture, that he had no basis for withholding of removal, and that he could not obtain relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court agreed with the Ninth and Tenth Circuits that, where an alien pursues a reasonable fear proceeding following DHS’ initial reinstatement of a prior order of removal, the reinstated removal order does not become final until the reasonable fear proceeding is completed. Therefore, the court concluded that it did not have jurisdiction when petitioner filed his petition for review. However, the court joined the Second and Third Circuits and held that if a petition for review is premature when filed, the petition becomes ripe (and jurisdiction vests) when subsequent agency action renders the initial ruling final, and the petition can be adjudicated if no action has been taken on the merits and there is no prejudice to the government. Therefore, the government's motion to dismiss is denied. 8 U.S.C. 1231(a)(5) provides that an alien whose order of removal is reinstated “is not eligible and may not apply for any relief under this chapter.” On the merits, the court joined the Second and Fifth Circuits in holding that, because asylum is a form of relief from removal, a person like petitioner is not eligible for and cannot seek asylum. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review.