The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in Velasco v. Holder on Tuesday, October 29, 2013.
Arturo Velasco petitioned for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissing his appeal from an order of the immigration judge (IJ) that denied his application for cancellation of removal under § 240A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), codified at 8 U.S.C. § 1229b.
Velasco, a native and citizen of Mexico, entered the United States illegally in 1989. The government first commenced deportation proceedings against him in March 1997. He applied for suspension-of-deportation relief under former § 244(a) of the INA, was granted that relief, and was issued a lawful-permanent-resident card in September 1998.
In 2007 Velasco pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a controlled substance, causing the Department of Homeland Security to initiate removal proceedings against him in 2009. He then applied for discretionary cancellation-of-removal relief for permanent residents under 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(a). The IJ denied relief; on appeal the BIA also denied relief, although on different grounds.
The Tenth Circuit denied Velasco’s petition for review. Because Velasco had been granted suspension of deportation during prior deportation proceedings, he was ineligible for cancellation of removal according to the plain language of § 1229b(c)(6).