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Immigration Law

CA9 on Iran, Evidence, CAT: Etemadi v. Garland

Etemadi v. Garland

"Kami Etemadi, a citizen and native of Iran, came to the United States in 1996 and made a life in Los Angeles. After being introduced to an Iranian American church, he converted to Christianity and was baptized in 1999. The government maintains his faith is false, and endeavors to deport him. Etemadi desires to remain in the United States with his American wife and family. He fears that if he is deported to Iran, he will be tortured or killed for his faith. He has filed a motion to reopen, which the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has denied. We face three questions: First, whether the law-of-the-case doctrine requires that we accept a prior Ninth Circuit panel’s determination that the immigration judge’s (IJ) finding that Etemadi is not a Christian was supported by substantial evidence. Second, whether Etemadi was required to reattach his application for relief to his motion to reopen. And third, whether Etemadi has demonstrated changed country conditions for Christians in Iran to warrant reopening his application under the Convention Against Torture. We grant Etemadi’s petition and remand for a new hearing to consider all evidence of Etemadi’s Christian faith and whether Etemadi is more likely than not to face torture if removed to Iran."

[Hats off to Judith L. Wood, aka "Saint Judy" and Beth S. Persky!]