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Immigration Law

CA2 on Credibility: Gao v. Sessions, Shao v. Sessions

Gao v. Sessions, Shao v. Sessions, May 25, 2018 - "These petitions for review heard in tandem challenge two decisions of the Board of Immigration Appeals (the ʺBIAʺ), affirming decisions by two Immigration Judges (ʺIJsʺ), denying asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (ʺCATʺ) to two petitioners seeking relief from religious persecution in China on adverse credibility grounds.  During removal proceedings, petitioners testified regarding the medical attention they received for injuries they sustained from police beatings.  The IJs and the BIA relied substantially on the omission of that information from petitionersʹ initial applications and supporting documents to determine that petitioners lacked credibility.   On appeal, petitioners principally challenge the agencyʹs adverse credibility determinations.  In light of the totality of the circumstances and in the context of the record as a whole, in each case we conclude that the IJ and BIA erred in substantially relying on certain omissions in the record.  Accordingly, we grant the petitions, vacate the decisions of the BIA, and remand the cases to the BIA for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."

[Hats off to Mona Liza Fabular Lao and Joshua Bardavid!]