Da Silva v. Attorney General United States, No. 18-1699 (3d Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Da Silva, a two-year-old native of Brazil, was admitted to the U.S. in 1994 with a B-2 visa. She has never left the U.S. Da Silva married a U.S. citizen, Leach, a member of the armed services, who subjected Da Silva to abuse and engaged in extramarital affairs, including with L.N. During a confrontation, Da Silva punched L.N. in the nose twice. Da Silva pleaded guilty to assault, 18 U.S.C. 113(a)(4) and was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment.
In removal hearings, the IJ recognized that Da Silva had “been provoked.” She unsuccessfully sought cancellation of removal for battered spouses under the Violence Against Women Act, 8 U.S.C. 1229b(b)(2)(A). Da Silva could not satisfy the “good moral character” requirement because of her imprisonment for her assault conviction. She argued that she qualifies for the exception because the “act or conviction was connected to the alien’s having been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty.” The IJ found that Leach had threatened to take away Silva’s children due to her undocumented status, was consistently unfaithful, verbally and physically abused her and her daughter, and refused to allow her to seek immigration status, and found that her removal would result in extreme hardship but that the assault convictions were not “connected to” the cruelty. The Third Circuit vacated; “connected to” is unambiguous and means “having a causal or logical relationship.” Da Silva’s convictions are connected to Leach's extreme cruelty.