The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in Maatougui v. Holder on Thursday, December 26, 2013.
An immigration judge found Nadia Maatougui removable for marriage fraud in 2004. Maatougui, a native and citizen of Morocco who has lived in the United States since 2000, then requested asylum and four other forms of relief from removal. In a written decision in 2009, the IJ denied the requests, and the Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed. Maatougui petitioned for review.
Maatougui claimed the IJ and BIA erred in denying her a hardship waiver and cancellation of removal based on their credibility determinations and the weight they gave the evidence in her case. The Tenth Circuit held it did not have jurisdiction to overturn their credibility determinations or evidence weighing so could not grant relief on that claim.
Maatougui also claimed that changed conditions in Morocco and the ineffective assistance of her prior counsel at a hearing in 2004 merited reopening her case. She failed to present new, material, previously unavailable evidence that justified reopening her case. The BIA’s decision was not insufficient under the circumstances.
The court also held that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in declining to consider the ineffective assistance claim after Maatougui waited over six years to raise it. The court dismissed the first claim (decision on removability) for lack of jurisdiction and denied the petition to review the BIA’s denial of her motion to reopen her case.