Board of Immigration Appeals Finds Asylee Cannot Readjustment Status to LPR

Matter of C-J-H, Respondent

Decided March 27, 2014

An alien whose status has been adjusted from Asylee to lawful permanent resident cannot subsequently readjust status under INA Section 209(b), 8 USC Section 1159(b)(2012).

Factual Background of Decision

In a decision dated May 8, 2013, an Immigration Judge (IJ) found the respondent removable on his own admissions under INA Sections 237(a)(2)(A)(i) and (iii), as an alien convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude and an aggravated felony. The IJ also denied the respondent’s application for readjustment of status with a waiver of inadmissibility and was ordered removed from the United States. The respondent has appealed from that decision and this appeal will be dismissed.

Background on the Respondent before the Board of Immigration Appeals

The respondent in this case is a native and citizen of the People’s Republic of China who was admitted to the United States on January 10, 2006 as an Asylee. He adjusted his status to become a lawful permanent resident on November 20, 2007. On November 9, 2011, the respondent was convicted of conspiracy to traffic counterfeit merchandise, for which he received a sentence of 12 months and 1 day.

Before the IJ, the respondent conceded removability and applied for readjustment of status. The IJ concluded that the respondent was ineligible for readjustment and therefore pretermitted his application for relief.

Respondent’s Argument for Readjustment of Status

The respondent argues that the Immigration and Nationality Act permits aliens who have been granted asylum to adjust status to lawful permanent resident. The IJ dismisses this argument and states that once he became a lawful permanent resident he no longer had the status of an Asylee.

Conclusion and Decision of the Immigration Judge

The Board of Immigration Appeals concludes that, like refugees, aliens whose status was adjusted from Asylee to lawful permanent resident no longer qualify as asylees.  Consequently, aliens who have adjusted from their status as asylees have no status that would authorize them to readjust under Section 209(b) of the INA.

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