Ioannis LOUKAS, AKA Jean Kabolis, AKA John Loukas, Petitioner, v. Jefferson B. SESSIONS III, Attorney General, Respondent.
Decided: June 20, 2018
Before: GOULD and WATFORD, Circuit Judges, and ROTHSTEIN,* District Judge.
Robert Harrison Gibbs, Attorney, Gibbs Houston Pauw, Seattle, WA, for Petitioner Aaron Nelson, Trial Attorney, DOJ—U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division/Office of Immigration Litigation, Washington, DC, Chief Counsel ICE, Office of the Chief Counsel, Department of Homeland Security, San Francisco, CA, for Respondent
Ioannis Loukas, a native and citizen of Greece, petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ dismissal of his appeal from an immigration judge’s negative reasonable fear determination. We grant the petition for review and remand for further proceedings.
Contrary to the government’s contention, we have jurisdiction over Loukas’ petition for review. Like the petitioner in Martinez v. Sessions, 873 F.3d 655 (9th Cir. 2017), Loukas was unaware that he needed to file a petition for review directly in our court, rather than taking an administrative appeal to the BIA. Nothing in the final order entered by the immigration judge (IJ) adequately clarified the process by which further appellate review of the IJ’s ruling could be obtained. Because Loukas was proceeding pro se when he attempted to seek appellate review of the IJ’s order, his case is squarely governed by Martinez’s holding. We therefore treat the BIA’s dismissal of his appeal as the final order of removal. See id. at 660. Loukas timely petitioned for review of that order within the jurisdictionally mandated 30 days.
In his petition for review, Loukas contends that the IJ violated his due process rights in two respects: by failing to provide a reasoned explanation for rejecting Loukas’ claim that he feared persecution or torture; and by improperly denying him a full and fair opportunity to present testimony in support of his claim. The government’s brief does not meaningfully address the merits of these contentions, so we deem any opposition to them waived. As in Martinez, we vacate the IJ’s order upholding the asylum officer’s negative reasonable fear determination, and we remand this case to the IJ for further consideration in accordance with this disposition. See id.
PETITION FOR REVIEW GRANTED; CASE REMANDED.
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