Nigerian woman faces deportation after 37 years in America

The United States of America (USA) Court of Appeal has affirmed deportation of a Nigerian woman, having resident for 37-years and unable to secure a permanent residence permit, and this decision followed the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Agency

Penpushing reports that the woman Adetokunbo Abosede Brooks, is facing deportation from the country, as a three-member panel of the court ruled in its judgement delivered on 4 May that Brooks’ petition for a review of the concurrent decisions of the immigration court and the Board of Immigration Agency (BIA) was not substantiated.

The woman in 1986 entered America legally with a six-month visa, and, three years later, had her status adjusted to that of a “conditional permanent resident alien” on getting married to a American citizen, and thereafter filed a joint petition with her partner for the removal of the conditions for her permanent residency on the basis of being married to a citizen.

Penpushing further reports that she was later invited for an interview with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS) alongside her spouse concerning the bona fides of their marriage, but in a show of simmering dispute between the couple, her husband said during the interview that he neither saw nor signed the joint petition, and formally withdrew from the joint application.

The couple shortly after the incident filed for divorce, while the woman went ahead with her application, but this time around through a different route, while the court of appeals ruling affirmed that she filed an application for waiver of the requirement to file the joint petition for removal of conditions, claiming that she entered the marriage in good faith.

Penpushing also reports that Brooks request was, however, denied in April 1992 by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS) which then formally terminated her conditional permanent resident status and commenced deportation proceedings.

The woman, however, did not appear for any of the deportation hearings, she was ordered removed in absentia in September 1992,and twenty-three years later  precisely 2015, she filed a motion with the immigration court to reopen her case, which the immigration judge granted, because she did not receive notice of her original hearing.

Penpushing reports that Brooks case was heard including the circumstances of her marriage, the judge issued a decision sustaining the charge of deportation and upholding the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS’s) denial of her request to waive the filing of the joint petition.

The embattled woman not giving up, appealed the decision to the Board of Immigration Agency (BIA) which affirmed the immigration judges’ decision in 2022, and again filed a petition for review of the Board of Immigration Agency (BIA) decision with the American Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Penpushing further reports that she argued that the Board of Immigration Agency (BIA erred in applying the REAL ID Act’s credibility framework to the fresh review of her application for relief because it was filed prior to the passage of the Act.

The Nigerian argued that the provision, which was passed as part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 should not be applied retroactively to her final order of removal from 1992. However, that order is no longer final as the immigration judge’s granting of her petition to reopen vacated her 1992 order of removal.

Penpushing also reports that the document noted that according to federal law in America, the granting of a hardship waiver for an individual who fails to submit a joint petition for removal of conditional status is reserved to the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security, thus not subject to review by the court of appeals.

The court however, posited that, in the document that federal law does not preclude review of constitutional claims or questions of law raised upon a petition for review filed with an appropriate court of appeals.

Penpushing further reports that the Court of Appeals ruling on Brooks’ petition to review the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Agency decision, noted that a final order of removal can only be reviewed if the alien has exhausted all administrative remedies available to the alien as of right.

The court emphasized that petitioners failed to exhaust their administrative remedies as to an issue if they do not first raise the issue before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Agency, either on direct appeal or in a motion to reopen.

Penpushing also reports that, the court stated that Brooks in her case did not raise this issue before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Agency, adding that she only argued that the REAL ID Act’s framework for assessing credibility was controlling.

The court explained that nowhere did Brooks suggested  to the Board of Immigrations Appeals(BIA) that her credibility should have been assessed under the pre- REAL ID Act framework, and she concedes as much on appeal.

Penpushing reports that the court declared that as a result of the non-exhaustion of administrative remedies by Brooks lacked jurisdiction to consider her appeal for review, and therefore the petition for review was denied, emphasisng that the Board of Immigrations Appeals(BIA) decision to remove her from America stands.

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