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Immigration Law

Unpub. BIA Asylum Remand Insists IJ Follow the Law (Nov. 6, 2017)

Humza Kazmi writes: "Our client brought an asylum claim, through another attorney. The Immigration Judge found that our client was credible, but hadn't provided sufficient corroborative evidence for part of his claim (membership in a particular organization). The attorney told the IJ that there was corroborative evidence that was readily available, in the form of an already-prepared affidavit from the client's wife. The attorney hadn't presented this affidavit as part of evidence because the Fourth Circuit generally frowns on the use of family affidavits, but was prepared to present it. Despite knowing that the affidavit was already prepared beforehand, the government objected on the grounds that the affidavit could somehow be fraudulently reworked to confirm the client's trial testimony - and the IJ sustained the objection, right before denying the asylum claim.

The attorney appealed this case to the BIA and lost the appeal, before we took over the case. We filed a Motion to Reopen with the BIA, noting (in part) that the IJ's decision to exclude the affidavit did not comply with the BIA's holding in Matter of L-A-C-. The BIA agreed, reopened the case, and remanded it to the IJ, instructing him to admit the affidavit as evidence as per L-A-C- and issue a new decision.

The IJ noted the existence of L-A-C-, but stated that our client had forfeited the opportunity to admit the affidavit, refused to admit it, and denied the asylum claim for a second time, relying on his prior decision and the BIA's first denial prior to the MTR.

We appealed to the BIA, stating that the IJ was ignoring the law of the case and his direct instructions from a higher court. As Hassan noted in his FB post, we included redacted cases from a FOIA request another attorney had conducted, showing the various instances in the past two years where the IJ had been remanded in asylum proceedings. Yesterday, we got the remand, which reconfirmed that the prior rulings in the case were vacated and relying upon them was in judicial error, and instructed the IJ to grant our client a completely new hearing with an open record, and issue a new decision."