Ninth Circuit Reverses Removal Order Against GMSR Client, Ruling That Immigration Judges Must Consider Positive Factors When Assessing A Non-Citizen’s Entitlement To Voluntary Departure

Victor Luis Angeles Zamorano followed his parents into the United States as a child and has lived in this country for the twenty years since.  At his removal proceeding, he requested voluntary departure, which would have allowed him to make arrangements to leave the country without a deportation order on his record.  But the immigration judge denied him this relief.

The Ninth Circuit appointed GMSR as pro bono counsel in his appeal.  Agreeing with GMSR, the Ninth Circuit ruled that, although it lacked jurisdiction to reweigh an immigration judge’s exercise of discretion in denying voluntary departure, it could decide the legal question of whether the immigration judge considered all necessary factors in making that determination.  Finding that the immigration judge abused his discretion by failing to consider any of Mr. Zamorano’s positive factors, the court reversed the deportation order and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Court of Appeals Opinion – View Document