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Immigration Law

CA2 Rejects Matter of B-R-: Zepeda-Lopez v. Garland

Zepeda-Lopez v. Garland

"Petition for review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals entered December 14, 2018, dismissing an appeal from the decision of an Immigration Judge denying asylum and the withholding of removal to petitioners, who are dual citizens of Honduras and Nicaragua, and their relatives. The agency denied relief based on Matter of B-R-, where the BIA held that to qualify as a "refugee" under the Immigration and Nationality Act, dual nationals must show persecution in both their countries of nationality. 26 I. & N. Dec. 119, 121 (B.I.A. 2013). The agency determined that while petitioners demonstrated persecution in Honduras, they did not show persecution in Nicaragua, and it concluded that they were not refugees and therefore not eligible for asylum. We grant the petition for review and hold that, to qualify as a "refugee" under the INA, a dual national asylum applicant need only show persecution in any singular country of nationality. PETITION GRANTED, BIA DECISION VACATED, AND CASE REMANDED. ... We hold that to be considered a "refugee" under § 1101(a)(42)(A), a dual national need only show persecution in any singular country of nationality. Accordingly, we GRANT the petition for review, VACATE the BIA's December 14, 2018, decision, and REMAND to the BIA for further proceedings in accordance with the proper legal standard. ...  [T]he INA unambiguously requires an applicant for asylum to show well-founded fear of persecution in any one country of the applicant's nationality rather than in all such countries. ... As the statutory text unambiguously provides that dual nationals need show persecution only in any singular country of nationality to qualify as a refugee under the INA, we need not defer to the BIA's interpretation of § 1101(a)(42)(A). In any event, the BIA's interpretation is unreasonable; Matter of B-R- required dual nationals to show well-founded fear of persecution in both countries of nationality. 26 I. & N. Dec. at 121. Such a reading is manifestly contrary to the text of the INA."

[Hats way off to Christina Colón Williams and Jon Bauer!]