Meridor v. United States Attorney General, No. 15-14569 (11th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Meridor arrived in the U.S. about 25 years ago as a political refugee from Haiti and applied for political asylum. He withdrew his application after it lingered for many years. In 2013, DHS notified Meridor that he was subject to removal as a foreign national without a valid visa or passport, and because he had convictions for a crime of moral turpitude and controlled-substance offenses. Meridor applied for asylum and for withholding of removal. An IJ agreed that Meridor was removable and denied his requests for asylum and withholding of removal. Meridor moved for reconsideration, but before the IJ ruled, Meridor applied to USCIS for a U visa (available to certain crime victims). The IJ terminated his removal proceedings, and, acting as the Attorney General’s delegate, stated that she had jurisdiction over the waiver application. Before the IJ could issue a written opinion, USCIS denied Meridor’s applications for a U visa and waiver of inadmissibility. Three weeks later, the IJ granted the waiver, citing “extraordinary circumstances.” The BIA reversed the IJ’s decision, holding that only DHS can grant waivers of inadmissibility for U visa applications and that Meridor did not merit such a waiver. The Eleventh Circuit vacated. The plain language of 8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(3)(A) gives IJs authority to grant waivers of inadmissibility and the BIA committed legal error in reaching its alternative holding on the merits.