Immigration Law

Unpub. BIA Remand; Westernized Somali; Al-Shabaab (Dec. 5, 2017)

Kim Hunter writes: "Respondent, a Somali national, moved for reopening of his 2003 removal order, arguing that: 1) he was eligible for asylum, withholding, and CAT due to changed country conditions; 2) he was eligible for readjustment of status through a qualifying immediate relative; 3) his underlying conviction did not support removability; and 4) he was prejudiced by ineffective assistance of prior counsel.  He claimed country conditions had materially changed due to the rise of Al-Shabaab since 2006; his asylum, withholding, and CAT claim was based on the likelihood that he would be persecuted or tortured by Al-Shabaab as a Westernized Somali.  Respondent argued he possesses specific characteristics, confirmed by various human rights reports, that identify an individual as “Westernized” in the eyes of Al-Shabaab.  The BIA granted reopening and remanded to the Immigration Judge, finding that Respondent established changed conditions which materially impacted his eligibility for relief.  The BIA also recognized that Respondent could challenge his removability on remand."