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CA9 (2-1) on Credibility, Evidence: Kalulu v. Garland

March 11, 2024 (1 min read)

Kalulu v. Garland

"This court grants a petition for review of an agency denial of asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT relief only under the most extraordinary circumstances. See Gutierrez-Alm, 62 F.4th at 1194; Sharma v. Garland, 9 F.4th 1052, 1060 (9th Cir. 2021). This is one of those rare instances. For the reasons discussed above, the agency’s adverse credibility determination is amply supported by substantial evidence. But the IJ failed to properly consider and evaluate the evidentiary weight of multiple documents Kalulu offered into the record independent of her testimony, and the BIA made clear factual errors when it reviewed those documents. Because the agency’s decision therefore “cannot be sustained upon its reasoning,” this case must be remanded for the IJ or BIA to reconsider its decision. De Leon, 51 F.4th at 1008 (internal quotation marks omitted). On remand, the agency must reexamine the three declarations and medical document discussed in section III(b) to consider whether they, when properly read alongside other nontestimonial evidence in the record, independently prove Kalulu’s claims for asylum or withholding of removal. This court takes no position on whether those documents provide such proof or whether Kalulu merits any of the relief for which she applied."

Dissent: "The majority ignores our precedent and instead concludes that the agency would have reached the same adverse credibility determination in the absence of these unsupported findings. That approach contravenes the REAL ID Act, binding circuit precedent, and fundamental principles of administrative law. I respectfully dissent."

[Hats off to Amalia Wille and Judah Lakin!]