Alan Soares Renaut sought to reopen an in absentia removal order on the basis that he received legally insufficient notice of his hearing. The hearing notice was sent to the address provided by Renaut (which both he and a friend residing there confirmed was his mailing address) but was returned to the court as undeliverable.
The Immigration Judge (IJ) denied his motion, finding that Renaut was made aware of his obligation to immediately notify the Immigration Court when he changed his address and he failed to do so. The IJ then found that although the hearing notice was returned to the Court as undeliverable, it had been sent to the Respondent at his last known address. Renaut appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), arguing that the IJ conflated the regulatory standards that govern the entering of an in absentia removal order and the requirements to reopen one. The BIA affirmed the IJ's decision, finding that Renaut evaded delivery of a properly sent hearing notice by relocating without providing the required change of address.
On appeal to the First Circuit, the court recognized that the statute governing notice still contemplates that an individual make not receive a hearing notice, even if it is properly mailed to that person's last known address. Thus, an individual could successfully seek reopening if he could show that he complied with the address reporting requirements but still did not receive the notice. Even though Renaut had physically left the address he had provided the court, he and his friend living there confirmed that he continued to receive mail there (in other words, that the address provided was still his mailing address). Thus, the agency's conclusion that he was trying to evade delivery of the notice or shirk on his responsibility to notify the court of his new mailing address was unwarranted.
The full text of Renaut v. Lynch can be found here: http://media.ca1.uscourts.gov/pdf.opinions/14-1766P-01A.pdf