Rodriguez v. Sessions, No. 17-1568 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Rodriguez entered the U.S. without inspection in 1999. In 2000, her boyfriend obtained a temporary restraining order against her, claiming that he feared for his safety after episodes of domestic violence. Rodriguez later testified that because she had nowhere else to go, and because she had small children and all her belongings in their shared apartment, she did not leave. Rodriguez pleaded no contest to knowingly violating a TRO and to misdemeanor bail jumping. Rodriguez sought cancellation of her removal as an alien continuously present in the U.S. for 10 years, 8 U.S.C. 1229b(b)(1)(A) and “a person of good moral character” during that time, indicating that removal would cause an “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” to her five dependent children (including a cancer survivor) and that she had not been convicted of certain enumerated offenses, including violation of a protection order. The IJ decided that Rodriguez’s conviction was determinative, reasoning that Wisconsin law requires a judge to consider the danger posed to a victim and any pattern of abusive conduct by the perpetrator, so a misdemeanor conviction for violating a TRO is “categorically a removable offense.” The BIA and Seventh Circuit rejected her appeals. It does not matter that Rodriguez may not have acted violently by remaining on the premises; her violation of the avoidance-of-residence provision is enough.