Menghistab v. Garland, No. 21-2099 (7th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Menghistab, then a lawful U.S. permanent resident, pleaded guilty to rape in Indiana state court in 2011. The Department of Homeland Security began the process of removing him to Ethiopia. Because of his rape conviction and resulting sentence, Menghistab was barred from seeking asylum, discretionary withholding of removal, and waiver of removability. He was eligible only to apply for deferral of removal under the Convention against Torture. An immigration judge denied him that relief. The BIA affirmed.
Ethiopia refused to issue Menghistab a travel document. He was released from custody in 2013 and continued to live in the United States until, in 2020, Ethiopia agreed to issue the travel document. The Department detained Menghistab pending removal. He moved to reopen his case, citing the changed circumstances in Ethiopia occasioned by the 2020 outbreak of civil war in the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia. The Tigray War has resulted in widespread attacks on civilians. Ethnic Eritreans, such as Menghistab, have suffered particularly severe human‐rights violations. The Board denied the motion without an evidentiary hearing.
The Seventh Circuit remanded. A new hearing is needed to address the materiality of the war with respect to Menghistab’s risk of torture and whether Menghistab is an Ethiopian citizen.