WINSTON GUTIERREZ-ALM V. MERRICK GARLAND, No. 17-71012 (9th Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
Petitioner entered the United States without inspection. In 1993, he was served an OSC, the charging document that initiated immigration proceedings prior to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (“IIRIRA”). Petitioner’s OSC did not list the time and place of his proceedings. Petitioner sought suspension of deportation, a form of relief available prior to IIRIRA. IIRIRA provided that continuous physical presence is deemed to end when the applicant is served with a notice to appear (“NTA”). Under IIRIRA’s transitional rules, which apply to individuals like Petitioner, whose proceedings were pending when IIRIRA was enacted, this stop-time rule applies retroactively to proceedings initiated by an OSC.
Accordingly, Petitioner’s continuous physical presence was deemed to end when he was served his OSC—only four years after his arrival, and thus short of the required seven years. Petitioner contended that the Supreme Court’s decision in Pereira v. Sessions, 138 S. Ct. 2105 (2018), instructs that his OSC was statutorily defective and that the stop-time rule was therefore inapplicable.
The Ninth Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review of the BIA’s decision, the panel held that: 1) an OSC that fails to disclose the time and place of an immigrant’s deportation proceedings is sufficient to trigger the stop-time rule in a transitional rules case; 2) Petitioner’s OSC triggered the stop-time rule, making him ineligible for suspension of deportation; and 3) substantial evidence supported the denial of withholding of removal and protection under the CAT.