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CA8 on Credibility: Tian v. Barr

July 31, 2019 (1 min read)

Tian v. Barr

"The reasoning behind the IJ’s [adverse] credibility finding here is simply not cogent. ... The IJ used misguided questions and demonstrated little understanding of Chinese culture. ... Equally disturbing is the IJ’s lack of cogent reasoning in assessing the challenges faced by religious minorities under repressive regimes. For example, the IJ questioned why Tian lacked medical documentation of beatings from Chinese police. “[M]ost telling,” according to the IJ, was that Tian “admitted that she lied to immigration officials in order to obtain her visitor’s visa.” This explanation is consistent with behavior required to escape a country where officials had physically beaten her for her religious views. The IJ showed little awareness of authoritarian regimes or why one could feel compelled to use deception. In a similar tone-deaf manner, the IJ also asked Tian repeatedly about government-approved churches. The IJ’s implied personal belief that such churches were a reasonable alternative has no support in the record. ... [And] [w]hen faced with a translation issue and a translator affirmatively attempting to resolve the issue, the IJ chose to make its own arbitrary determinations without regard to the evidence and issues in front of it. This is a model of a decision that violates the cogency requirements by failing to account for translation issues. ... Credibility findings must be supported by cogent reasons for disbelief, and the BIA erred in upholding the IJ’s finding. We grant Tian’s petition for review, vacate the removal order, and remand the case for a new credibility determination consistent with this opinion."

[Hats off to...the Petitioner, pro se!]