Submitted Under Third Circuit L.A.R. 34.1(a) on November 14,
Petition for Review of a Decision of the United States
Department of Justice Board of Immigration Appeals (Agency
No. A206-596-150) Immigration Judge: Honorable Ramin Rastegar
Raymond S. Vivino Vivino & Vivino Counsel for Petitioner
Ramnitz Jennifer A. Singer John D. Williams United States
Department of Justice Office of Immigration Litigation
Counsel for Respondent
Before: GREENAWAY, JR., SHWARTZ, and BIBAS, Circuit Judges.
non-lawyer "immigration expert" advised Dieuland
Jean Louis that he could miss his asylum hearing without
consequence. I App. A6-7. So he did. But the
"immigration expert" was wrong-and an immigration
judge relied on Jean Louis's absence to order his removal
in absentia. Id.
Louis now contends that we should reopen that order because
the non-lawyer's advice qualifies as an exceptional
circumstance. But that is not the law. Exceptional
circumstances must be grave and beyond the applicant's
control. And holding the hearing without Jean Louis did not
violate due process because he had the opportunity to attend.
He chose not to. So we will deny his petition for review.
Louis, a native and citizen of Haiti, entered the United
States illegally. He later applied for asylum. While that
application was pending, he married a U.S. citizen and sought
citizenship on that basis.
Louis received a notice, dated August 2016, explaining that
he had to appear for an asylum hearing in June 2017. The
notice made clear that the immigration judge could hold the
hearing and remove Jean Louis if he did not attend.
Jean Louis, who does not speak English, wanted advice. So he
went to Gustave Thermitus. Thermitus is associated with
Caracol Financial. He is not a lawyer and does not belong to
a legal organization. Still, Jean Louis thought Thermitus was
Thermitus did not hold himself out as a lawyer. And Jean
Louis does not claim that Thermitus intentionally misled him.
According to Jean Louis, Thermitus held himself out as
"an immigration expert that performed other work as
well." II App. A6.
Louis asked Thermitus about his notice. Thermitus told him he
did not have to go to the hearing because he had another path