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CA1 on Credibility: Lopez Troche v. Garland

October 19, 2021 (1 min read)

Lopez Troche v. Garland

"Mario Rene Lopez Troche ("Lopez Troche"), a native and citizen of Honduras, petitions for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") that affirms the denial of his application for withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture ("CAT"). We vacate and remand. ...  [T]he record does not reveal the claimed inconsistency between the testimony and the reasonable fear interview as to Lopez Troche's reporting to police that the BIA identified. The BIA cited to three portions of Lopez Troche's testimony in support of its determination that the IJ did not clearly err in finding an inconsistency between what Lopez Troche told the asylum officer during his reasonable fear interview and how he testified as to the reporting of past abuse. But, none of those passages supports the BIA's determination. ... Nor is it possible to read either the BIA or the IJ to have inferred from Lopez Troche's failure to report to the police the specific incidents that he discussed in his testimony that he was asserting in that testimony that did not report any incidents of abuse ever. Neither the IJ's opinion nor the BIA's expressly purports to premise its ruling as to adverse credibility on the basis of such inferential reasoning, see Chenery, 318 U.S. at 95, and we do not see what basis there would be for drawing that inference on this record, given that, in his reasonable fear interview, declaration, and testimony, Lopez Troche discussed a series of traumatic physical and sexual assaults that he had experienced that appears to have stretched back to a time when he was eight years old and that thus encompassed many more incidents than those addressed specifically in the portions of his testimony on which the BIA focused. As a result, we must vacate and remand the BIA's order affirming the denial of Lopez Troche's request for withholding of removal."

[Hats way off to PAIR Project Legal Director Elena Noureddine and Staff Attorney Irene Freidel!]