Family Members of Asylum Seekers – Beware!

"The sister of my asylum-seeker client recently got an unpleasant surprise from the U.S. Embassy in her country. The sister is a prominent journalist who had come to the Embassy several times (at the Embassy’s request) to brief U.S. diplomats on the situation in her country. She and her family...

Credible Fear Lesson Plan 'Undermines the Asylum Process' - Bill Ong Hing

"On February 28, 2014, you released a revised version of the " ADOTC Lesson Plan, Credible Fear of Persecution and Torture Determinations " to USCIS Asylum Office Directors and Asylum Officers throughout the country. I have reviewed the 47-page Lesson Plan and am deeply troubled by its...

As Honduras Unravels, U.S. Struggles to Cope with Refugees

"On Saturday a group of 61 men, women and children walked across the Hidalgo International Bridge near McAllen to seek political asylum. At least 48 of the immigrants were fleeing Honduras, which has the highest murder rate in the world. The men, women and children who arrived in the Rio Grande...

CA9 on Guatemala, Social Group: Pirir-Boc v. Holder

Court staff summary: "The panel granted a petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ denial of asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture, and remanded for further consideration in light of Henriquez-Rivas v. Holder, 707 F.3d 1081, 1083...

CA9 on India, Changed Conditions: Singh v. Holder

Majority: "The IJ and the BIA determined that the government showed that there has been a fundamental change in circumstances such that Singh’s life or freedom would not be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion...

Mexican and Central American Asylum and Credible Fear Claims: Background and Context

"While the numbers are rising, political attacks are made without reference to how the credible fear and asylum processes actually work, to escalated violence in Mexico and Central America, and to the barriers to obtaining asylum in the United States. This paper addresses these issues, summarizes...

BIA on Right to Asylum Hearing: Matter of E-F-H-L-

"In the ordinary course of removal proceedings, an applicant for asylum or for withholding or deferral of removal is entitled to a hearing on the merits of those applications, including an opportunity to provide oral testimony and other evidence, without first having to establish prima facie eligibility...

CA6 on Changed Conditions, Jurisdiction, Zimbabwe: Mandebvu v. Holder

"For more than two decades, Robert Mugabe has exercised power as the repressive head of state of Zimbabwe. Although he has permitted official national elections in recent years, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (“ZANU-PF”) party has maintained control of...

BIA on Asylum Fraud: Matter of P-S-H-

"To terminate a grant of asylum pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 1208.24 (2013), the Department of Homeland Security must establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that (1) there was fraud in the alien’s asylum application and (2) the fraud was such that the alien was not eligible for asylum...

DOS Releases Asylum Country Profiles to Settle FOIA Lawsuit

CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF WASHINGTON DC IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE RELEASES 15 “ASYLUM COUNTRY PROFILES” TO SETTLE A FOIA LAWSUIT On June 16, 2014 David L. Cleveland wrote: "The Department of State recently released 15 “Asylum Country Profiles” to...

USCIS Asylum Division Quarterly Stakeholder Meeting: Aug. 11, 2014

:U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invites you to participate in a quarterly stakeholder engagement on Monday, August 11, 2014, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. (Eastern) to discuss new developments within the Asylum Division. The purpose of this engagement is for the Asylum Division to provide...

CA4 on Asylum, El Salvador, MS-13, Mara 18: Aquino Cordova v. Holder

"Aquino offered evidence that MS-13 subsequently killed his cousin, Vidal, and had previously killed his uncle, both of whom were members of Mara 18. We cannot agree with the Government’s characterization of this evidence as describing nothing more than the “general conditions of upheaval...

Landmark CA1 Decision: Ordoñez-Quino v. Holder (Guatemalan Indigenous Claims)

Prof. Nancy Kelly writes: "In a landmark First Circuit decision, the Court today issued an opinion finding past persecution in the case of a Mayan man, based on the long history of genocide in his country. The client was represented by the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program."...

Initial Asylum-Related FOIA Victory in D.C.: Mezerhane de Schnapp v. USCIS

Sandra Grossman and Rachel Zoghlin write: "On July 18, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates ordered USCIS to produce to the Court unredacted copies of all disputed documents remaining at issue in long-pending asylum-related litigation under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 USC Section...

AILA: U.S. Shamefully Detaining Families Seeking Asylum with "Bond" Rule

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, July 31, 2014 CONTACTS: George Tzamaras or Ellie Rutledge 202-507-7649 - 202-507-7611 gtzamaras@aila.org - erutledge@aila.org Washington, DC - "According to documents obtained at the remote family...

CA1 on IJ/BIA Errors of Fact: Perez v. Holder

"As [OIL] now concedes, both the BIA and the IJ mistakenly concluded that Perez could have continued his social activism provided he paid extortion money to the gang members. But that erroneous finding conflated Perez's testimony that the gang demanded payment for the continued operation of...

The Case for Asylum: A Child's Long, Lonely Trek

"The caseworker handed Rheinheimer a thick, white, oversized envelope. It was addressed to Rodriguez, care of Rheinheimer. Rheinheimer knew what it was the moment she saw it. Only the winning asylum applications come back in the big envelopes. Denials come in thin envelopes. She let it sink...

CA5 on Hague Convention, Asylum: Lopez Sanchez v. R.G.L.

"Today, for the third time, we address an appeal by three children who are natives of Mexico, who seek reversal of the district court’s finding under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction that they were being wrongfully retained in the United States and...

Rise Seen in Asylum Denial Rates: TRAC

"The odds of an asylum claim being denied in Immigration Court has risen to 50.2 percent during the first nine months of 2014. While this is the highest denial rate since FY 2009, it is still much lower than ten years ago when nearly two out of three (62.6%) of those individuals seeking asylum lost...

CA2 on Social Group, Albania: Paloka v. Holder

"The primary issue on this appeal is whether “young Albanian women” or “young Albanian women between the ages of 15 and 25" qualify as a “particular social group” for asylum purposes. 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42)(A). ... In view of the BIA’s two recent precedential...

Asylum Politics: How ICE Violates Rights in El Paso

"Singh has experienced something very different from the American dream he had hoped for. He has spent every day since his arrival—more than a year—inside a dorm room in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s El Paso Processing Center, a group of blue-and-white low-slung...

CA1 on Guatemala, Asylum, Mixed Motive: Aldana-Ramos v. Holder

"Petitioners Elvis Leonel Aldana Ramos ("Elvis") and Robin Obdulio Aldana Ramos ("Robin") seek review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") denying their applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture...

CA2 on 'Changed Circumstances,' Asylum: Lin v. Holder

"The statute states that an otherwise untimely asylum application “may be considered . . . if the alien demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Attorney General . . . the existence of changed circumstances which materially affect the applicant’s eligibility.” 8 U.S.C. § 1158...

CA9 on Political Opinion: Singh v. Holder

"Kamalpal Singh, a 51-year-old native and citizen of India, petitions for review from the BIA’s denial of his application for asylum and withholding of removal based on imputed political opinion. Singh entered the United States in 2006 after fleeing egregious physical abuse by the local police...

Guatemalan Woman Is Ruled Eligible for Asylum in U.S. on Basis of Domestic Abuse

"The nation’s highest immigration court has found for the first time that women who are victims of severe domestic violence in their home countries can be eligible for asylum in the United States. The decision on Tuesday by the Board of Immigration Appeals in the case of a battered wife from...