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CA4 on Internal Relocation: Ullah v. Garland

July 07, 2023 (1 min read)

Ullah v. Garland

"The United States’ war in Afghanistan required regional allies willing to aid the effort. One such ally was Shaker Ullah, a Pakistani businessman who sold supplies to coalition forces. This invoked the wrath of the Pakistani Taliban, which demanded exorbitant payments from Ullah under threat of death. Ullah repeatedly refused, and the Taliban attempted to carry out its threat, promising to hunt him until it succeeded. After losing his business, home, and nearly his life, Ullah fled to the United States seeking asylum. The Immigration Judge and Board of Immigration Appeals both recognized that Ullah suffered past persecution entitling him to a presumption that the Taliban would continue to target him if he returned to Pakistan. But they agreed with the government that because Ullah lived in Islamabad (the capital of Pakistan) for a few weeks without the Taliban finding him, he could live in a new area of the country without fear of reprisal. We disagree. Ullah’s brief sojourn to Islamabad—where he never left the house— doesn’t rebut the presumption that a notorious terrorist organization continues to imperil his life. Since the record would compel any reasonable adjudicator to conclude Ullah faces a well-founded threat of future persecution, we grant Ullah’s petition for review, reverse the Board’s denial of Ullah’s preserved claims, and remand with instructions that the agency grant relief."

[Hats way off to superlitigator Ben Winograd!  Listen to the oral argument here.]