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Immigration Law

CA9, En Banc, on Credibility: Alam v. Garland

Alam v. Garland

"We voted to rehear this case en banc to reconsider our “single factor rule,” which we have applied in considering petitions for review from decisions by the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”). The single factor rule, as we have applied it, requires us to sustain an adverse credibility finding if “one of the [agency’s] identified grounds is supported by substantial evidence.” Wang v. INS, 352 F.3d 1250, 1259 (9th Cir. 2003). On rehearing en banc, we hold that the single factor rule conflicts with the REAL ID Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-13, 119 Stat. 231 (2005), and we overrule our prior precedent establishing and applying it. We remand this case to the three-judge panel to re-examine the petition for review in light of our clarification of the standard for reviewing the BIA’s adverse credibility determinations. ... Given the REAL ID Act’s explicit statutory language, we join our sister circuits and hold that, in assessing an adverse credibility finding under the Act, we must look to the “totality of the circumstances[] and all relevant factors.” § 1158(b)(1)(B)(iii). There is no bright-line rule under which some number of inconsistencies requires sustaining or rejecting an adverse credibility determination—our review will always require assessing the totality of the circumstances. To the extent that our precedents employed the single factor rule or are otherwise inconsistent with this standard, we overrule those cases. We remand this case to the three-judge panel for reconsideration in light of the newly articulated standard for reviewing adverse credibility determinations."

[Hats off to Mate Jurkovic and Chelsey Noelle Kelso, Goldstein & Associates LLC!]