Luis Uriel Pleitez-Lopez, aka Luis Raul Pleitez-Rios, Petitioner,
William P. Barr, Attorney General, Respondent.
and Submitted August 12, 2019 Pasadena, California
Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration
Appeals Agency No. A205-319-371
J. Beam (argued), Los Angeles, California, for Petitioner.
T. Schaffner (argued), Trial Attorney; Douglas E. Ginsburg,
Assistant Director; Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil
Division, United States Department of Justice, Washington,
D.C.; for Respondent.
Before: Mary M. Schroeder and Susan P. Graber, Circuit
Judges, and Michael H. Watson, [*] District Judge.
Luis Pleitez-Lopez's petition for review of a decision of
the Board of Immigration Appeals affirming an immigration
judge's denial of a continuance for Petitioner to update
his fingerprints with the Department of Homeland Security
(DHS), the panel held that Petitioner's reliance on his
lawyer's erroneous advice that he was not required to
update his fingerprints was reasonable and constituted
"good cause" to grant a continuance, and remanded.
provided fingerprints to DHS before his first merits hearing,
but was granted a continuance to file for relief. At a later
hearing, the IJ reset Petitioner's case for a later date
and instructed Petitioner that he must have his fingerprints
retaken 60 days before that hearing or the IJ would find that
he had abandoned his applications for relief. However, when
his hearing date arrived, Petitioner had not provided the
required fingerprints to DHS because his attorney's
office had erroneously advised him that he was not required
to do so. The IJ denied the continuance, and the BIA
affirmed, concluding that Petitioner lacked good cause for
failing to update his fingerprints because the IJ properly
advised him of his obligation to update his fingerprints and
the consequence for failing to do so.
panel held that the BIA's decision to deny a continuance
was an abuse of discretion in two ways. First, the BIA failed
to analyze all the factors set out by Cui v.
Mukasey, 538 F.3d 1289 (9th Cir. 2008), which instructs
the court to consider: (1) the importance of the evidence,
(2) the unreasonableness of the immigrant's conduct, (3)
the inconvenience to the court, and (4) the number of
continuances previously granted. Second, the panel held that
the BIA analyzed the unreasonableness of Petitioner's
conduct in an arbitrary and irrational manner. Contrary to
the BIA, the panel concluded that Petitioner acted reasonably
in relying on his lawyer's advice, explaining that
Petitioner's reliance was especially reasonable because
the lawyer's bad advice post-dated the IJ's
GRABER, Circuit Judge.
Luis Pleitez-Lopez seeks review of the Board of Immigration
Appeals' decision affirming the immigration judge's
("IJ") denial of a continuance for Petitioner to
update his fingerprints with the Department of Homeland
Security ("DHS"). Petitioner did not update his
fingerprints because his lawyer advised him, incorrectly,
that he was not required to do so. He contends that his
reliance on his lawyer's advice was reasonable and
constituted "good cause" to grant a continuance
under 8 C.F.R. § 1003.29. We agree and grant the
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
a native and citizen of Guatemala, entered the United States
in 2002 without being admitted or paroled. In August 2012,
the government placed Petitioner in removal proceedings.