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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Jorge Ernesto Soriano is a native and citizen of Mexico. He was paroled into the United States from May 6, 2001, until May 2, 2002, to complete an application for adjustment of status. Authorities denied his application on Sept. 9, 2002. In December 2004, the Department of Homeland Security sought to deport Soriano, alleging that he had no immigrant visa and that he had knowingly “encouraged, induced, assisted, abetted, or aided [another] alien to enter or to try to enter the United States” in violation of 8 U.S.C. �1182(a)(6)(E)(i). At a removal hearing in El Paso, Soriano admitted that he had no immigrant visa but denied the charges of alien smuggling. He also renewed his application for adjustment of status under 8 U.S.C. �1255, based on his wife’s U.S. citizenship. At the hearing, the DHS introduced Soriano’s I-23 form (a record of a deportable or inadmissible alien) into evidence. The form, signed by a special agent of the antismuggling unit of DHS, alleged that on Aug. 5, 2002, an anonymous caller provided a tip that three undocumented aliens were waiting for transportation at a McDonald’s restaurant in El Paso. The antismuggling unit (ASU) in El Paso established surveillance at the restaurant and observed three persons matching the caller’s description. At approximately 1:45 p.m., the aliens made contact with Soriano, who led them to a waiting pickup truck with Mexican tags. Soriano then drove to a gas station with the three aliens, where a male, later identified as the owner of the truck, Hector Rodriguez-Olguin (Rodriguez), got into the passenger seat and directed one of the aliens to sit in the back. The ASU stopped the vehicle and took the subjects into custody. The DHS also introduced the I-23s of the three aliens into evidence at the hearing. These forms indicated that the aliens had illegally entered the United States at 11 a.m. that same day. Soriano testified that Rodriguez was his friend and had asked Soriano to drive him around El Paso, because Rodriguez had multiple traffic tickets. Soriano further testified that he dropped Rodriguez off to pick up a money order and went to McDonald’s, where he met the aliens. Soriano explained that he did not know the aliens, that he had happened to meet them at the McDonald’s and that he had agreed to give them a ride to the border because he was nice. The immigration judge found that Soriano’s account was not credible and held that Soriano was both inadmissible and ineligible for adjustment of status due to his participation in “an alien-smuggling scheme.” Soriano appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals, which affirmed and adopted the IJ’s decision. HOLDING:The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Soriano’s petition for review of the BIA decision. Soriano, the court stated, argued that 8 U.S.C. �1182(a)(6)(E)(i) applied only to those who assist aliens in the actual physical crossing of the border. The language of the statute states: “Any alien who at any time knowingly has encouraged, induced, assisted, abetted or aided any other alien to enter or to try to enter the United States in violation of law is inadmissible.” Thus, Soriano contended that because the evidence demonstrated only that he transported three aliens within the United States, rather than assisting those aliens during their actual entry into the United States, the BIA erred when it held that Soriano violated �1182. Soriano’s interpretation of the statute is incorrect, the court stated. The court further stated its agreement with other circuits in holding that an individual may knowingly encourage, induce, assist, abet or aid with illegal entry, even if he did not personally hire the smuggler and even if he is not present at the point of illegal entry. Thus, the court held that any alien seeking admission to the United States who participated in a “scheme” to aid other aliens in an illegal entry is inadmissible under the language of �1182, regardless of whether the assisting individual was present at the border crossing. Turning to Soriano’s case, the court found that Soriano did not innocently offer the aliens a ride. The fact that Soriano shepherded the aliens within a few hours of their crossing evidenced a plan for the meeting and transportation, the court found. Soriano, the court held, did not meet his burden to establish that he was clearly admissible; thus, substantial evidence supported the BIA’s holding. OPINION:Reavley, J.; Reavley, Garza and Benavides, J.J.

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