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CA5 Slaps BIA on Honduras, Evidence: Inestroza-Antonelli v. Barr

April 10, 2020 (1 min read)

Inestroza-Antonelli v. Barr

"Marisela Inestroza-Antonelli, a native Honduran citizen, filed a motion to reopen her removal proceedings on the basis of changed country conditions in Honduras. She relied in part on the alleged dismantling of institutional protections for women against gender-based violence following a 2009 military coup. Without addressing the coup, the BIA found that any change in gender-based violence was incremental or incidental and not material. Because this conclusion is not supported by the record, we grant the petition and remand. ...  “While the BIA need not “write an exegesis on every contention,” as the dissent points out, it must “consider the issues raised, and announce its decision in terms sufficient to enable a reviewing court to perceive that it has heard and thought and not merely reacted.” Efe v. Ashcroft, 293 F.3d 899, 908 (5th Cir. 2002) (quoting Becerra-Jimenez v. INS, 829 F.2d 996, 1000 (10th Cir. 1987)). The BIA’s complete failure to address uncontroverted evidence of a clearly significant turning point in the country’s history and the central role that it played in Inestroza-Antonelli’s arguments regarding changes in country conditions does not meet this standard, and it was thus an abuse of its discretion. Cf. Rivera-Gomez v. Holder, 584 F. App’x 729, 730 (9th Cir. 2014) (unpublished) (holding in a similar case that the BIA’s complete failure to address “the highly significant 2009 military coup” was an abuse of discretion). We therefore grant Inestroza-Antonelli’s petition."

[Hats way off to John Edward Wilshire and Nancy Jean Kelly, Harvard Immigration & Refugee Clinic at Greater Boston Legal Services, and Maggie Jean Morgan, GBLS!]