7th Circuit tackles 'novel' U visa review request

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled it does not have jurisdiction to review immigration orders denying a specialized visa to a non-citizen trying to stay in the country after assisting in an investigation or prosecution.

The appellate court’s ruling came today in Juan Gabriel Torres-Tristan v. Eric H. Holder, Jr., Nos. 10-14-11, 10-2532 and 10-333, a case involving three petitions for review on orders from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Petitioner Juan Gabriel Torres-Tristan entered the U.S. illegally from Mexico as a minor in 1993, and he served an Illinois sentence on robbery and aggravated battery because of his involvement with the Latin Kings gang. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service ordered his removal, and that happened in July 2001. Despite not being able to re-enter without prior approval from the U.S. attorney general, Torres-Tristan re-entered without permission three months later and returned to the Chicago area. He was assaulted in late 2002 and sustained substantial injury. He worked with police investigating the assault to pinpoint the attackers, though that was not successful.

He remained in the Chicago area for seven years, becoming engaged and having a child without any official attention to his illegal immigration status. In January 2010, DHS officials arrested him and reinstated the prior removal order from 2000. While in federal custody awaiting removal, Torres-Tristan filed a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services seeking a U visa that would grant him temporary lawful status based on his cooperation in the police investigation of the 2002 attack.

Because his previous removal order from 2000 was in effect at the time of the attack and before the police cooperation, federal officials determined he wasn’t eligible for a U visa and denied his visa and waiver petitions, as well as a later request for reconsideration. Those actions are what Torres-Tristan sought to have reviewed by the federal courts.

In a 22-page order, the 7th Circuit denied his requests. Judge David Hamilton wrote for the unanimous panel that also included Judges Daniel Manion and Diane Wood.

With regard to judicial review of the DHS’s reinstatement of the 2000 removal order, that was the only petition the court found it has jurisdiction over. The court denied the request on the merits.

“The second and third petitions seek to create a novel route to obtain, apparently for the first time in the circuit courts of appeals, judicial review of orders by (USCIS) that denied petitioner the ‘U Visa’ he sought to prolong his unlawful stay in the United States,” Judge Hamilton wrote, later delving into language in the U visa regulations issued in recent years and generally addressed in caselaw.

Describing this as “an unprecedented expansion of our very limited judicial review of the reinstatement,” Judge Hamilton described why the court was rejecting the argument. He wrote that a Supreme Court ruling from 1983 allowing orders to be cancelled “by operation of law” and similar provision in the U visa regulation is an unlikely means for accomplishing the result Torres-Tristan wants.

This petition review request was a collateral matter for the DHS, something the federal courts aren’t allowed to review, he wrote.

Denying the first petition, the appellate panel dismissed the others for lack of jurisdiction without reaching the merits.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.