Ivis Alexander-Mendoza v. Attorney General United States

PRECEDENTIAL UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT ____________ No. 21-2322 & 21-3089 ______ IVIS ALEXANDER-MENDOZA, Petitioner v. ATTORNEY GENERAL UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ____________ On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (A093-493-496) Immigration Judge: Alice Song Hartye ____________ Argued: June 28, 2022 Before: JORDAN, PORTER, and PHIPPS, Circuit Judges. (Filed: December 2, 2022) ____________ Valentine A. Brown Ryan F. Monahan [Argued] DUANE MORRIS 30 South 17th Street Philadelphia, PA 19103 Counsel for Petitioner Jeffrey M. Hartman [Argued] Jessica Dawgert Margot P. Kniffin UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE OFFICE OF IMMIGRATION LITIGATION P.O. Box 878 Ben Franklin Station Washington, DC 20044 Counsel for Respondent _______________________ OPINION OF THE COURT _______________________ PHIPPS, Circuit Judge. These consolidated petitions both concern the validity of a detained alien’s waiver of an administrative appeal in a removal proceeding. The alien’s initial counsel withdrew, and the alien represented himself at the merits hearing on his requests for relief from removal. After denying the alien’s requests and ordering the alien’s removal, the Immigration Judge informed the alien that he had a right to administratively appeal the removal order to the Board of Immigration Appeals and that the right could be waived. Following a brief break, the alien waived that right, testifying that he would rather be deported than remain in custody. But then days afterward, the 2 alien filed a pro se notice of appeal. Later, in a brief filed with the BIA by pro bono counsel, the alien disputed the order of removal. The BIA issued an order dismissing the administrative appeal. It determined that the waiver of an administrative appeal was valid, and on that basis, it enforced the appellate waiver. The alien then filed a motion for reconsideration with the BIA. He argued that the waiver was invalid for several reasons. The BIA issued an order denying that motion. Through separate petitions, which have been consolidated in this case, the alien challenges the BIA’s two orders. Because the administrative record does not compel the conclusion that the alien’s waiver was invalid, and because the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying the alien’s motion to reconsider, both petitions will be denied. FACTUAL BACKGROUND (FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE RECORD) As a teenager, Ivis Alexander Mendoza-Cloters (‘Mendoza’) worked as an auto mechanic in his native city of El Progeso, Honduras. Two gangs in that city recruited him, and he rebuffed those efforts for years. But after he lost his job, one of the gangs, MS-13, would intercept him on his way to the store and beat him with a machete handle for 13 minutes at a time. That period of nearly daily beatings occurred between 2000 and 2001. To escape and also to find employment, Mendoza entered the United States in 2002 at age 18 without inspection or parole. He settled in New Jersey, where he had family. Between 2004 and 2008, he was arrested three separate times and charged with several crimes: burglary, criminal 3 mischief, harassment, …

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