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CA2 on Credibility: Pomavilla-Zaruma v. Garland

August 30, 2023 (1 min read)

Pomavilla-Zaruma v. Garland

"Petitioner applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. An immigration judge found Petitioner not credible and denied her application, relying in part on inconsistencies between Petitioner’s statements during a border interview and later testimony regarding her fear of persecution. However, the immigration judge failed to consider various factors that may have affected the reliability of the border interview record. Petitioner claims that she was frightened during the interview because a border patrol officer hit her and yelled at her upon her arrival to the United States. Petitioner may also have been reluctant to reveal information about persecution because authorities in her home country were allegedly unwilling to help her due to her indigenous status. Moreover, the questions asked during Petitioner’s border interview generally were not designed to elicit the details of an asylum claim. In Ramsameachire v. Ashcroft, 357 F.3d 169 (2d Cir. 2004), we cautioned immigration judges to consider these factors and others before relying on a border interview to find an asylum applicant not credible. Consistent with Ramsameachire and subsequent precedent, we hold that immigration judges are required to take such precautions, provided the record indicates that the Ramsameachire factors may be implicated. Accordingly, we GRANT the petition for review in part, VACATE the BIA’s decision, and REMAND the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."

[Hats off to Reuben S. Kerben!]