Hih is an undocumented Palestinian immigrant found to have overstayed in the United States while on a non-immigrant visa, and was thus subjected to deportation proceedings.
Hih would then challenge his removal by attempting to seek asylum and relief under the Convention Against Torture, testifying in front of an Immigration Judge that he was an anti-terrorist agent with the Palestinian Authority, which made him an easy target for persecution from Hamas if he were ever to return to the country.
The IJ, however, found Hih’s testimony to lack credibility, citing discrepancies between his first application for asylum in 2002 and his most recent asylum application in 2009. The IJ also found his testimony to be too vague and inconsistent, going so far as to question the validity of the certificates Hih had produced. As such, the IJ denied Hih’s request for asylum and related relief, but granted his request for voluntary departure.
Decision Affirmed by Board of Immigration Appeals
In January 2013, the Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed the IJ’s dismissal of Hih’s asylum application and relief, but pointed out deficiencies in their recommendation for voluntary departure. The BIA would dismiss Hih’s appeal of removal, but remanded to give the IJ the opportunity to provide Hih with “the proper voluntary departure advisals.”
At another hearing in March that same year, Hih attempted to supplement the record to no avail, and then withdrew his request for voluntary departure. The immigration judge ordered Hih removed from the country; Hih would appeal once more.
On April 2015, the BIA recognized Hih’s 2013 appeal as a motion for reconsideration of it earlier removal order, but dismissed it for being past the 30-day window for appeals. In its ruling, the BIA stated:
“[Hih] classifies his current filing before the Board as an appeal. However, [Hih] has not identified any error in the [IJ]’s latest decision ordering his removal to Israel and the occupied territories. Rather, [Hih] argues in his current appeal brief that the Board erred in its January 18, 2013, decision by failing to address the corroborating evidence provided by [Hih] at his 2010 merits hearing in support of his asylum claim. . . . In light of the issues raised by [Hih] in his appeal brief, we find it appropriate to construe the current filing before the Board as a motion to reconsider.”
Case Makes it Way to Court of Appeals
After Hih petitioned the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to review his case, the Sixth Circuit ruled to dismiss it, citing a lack of jurisdiction and pointing out that Hih’s appeals were related to the BIA’s January 2013 decision, which is now “final,” after Hih failed to file a motion for reconsideration within the allowable 30-day period.
Hih’s predicament highlights the importance of seeking reliable legal assistance to navigate the complex world of immigration law. If you or anyone you know is facing a similar case, get in touch with Lyttle Law Firm today to learn about your rights. Visit our website or call us at 512-215-5225.