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Immigration Law

CA6 on Asylum, Rwanda, Evidence, MTR: Uwineza v. Holder

"Uwineza argues that the BIA’s decision is without rational explanation, citing Yo Yun Zhang v. Holder, 702 F.3d 878, 881-82 (6th Cir. 2012), which held that the BIA cannot refuse to credit evidence on the grounds that it is unsworn or written in support of a petitioner’s case, in the absence of any evidence of falsity.  We find this argument persuasive.  The new evidence appears to satisfy the requirements of not having been previously available and indicating a change in conditions in Rwanda material to Uwineza’s claim.  The BIA rejected the evidence on the ground that the letters were unsworn and appeared to have been written in support of her case, which we have found invalid.  The BIA also noted that the letters were from interested witnesses, but interested witnesses would normally be expected to have information relevant to a petitioner’s claim, and that the witnesses were not subject to cross-examination, which will also normally be the case in a motion to reopen.  Therefore, we find the rejection of this evidence to be without rational explanation.  We thus grant Uwineza’s petition for review, vacate the BIA’s order, and remand this matter for further proceedings." Uwineza v. Holder, Jan. 21, 2015.  [Hats off to Bryan Scott Hicks!]