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CA9 on Burden of Proof: Fonseca-Fonseca v. Garland

August 08, 2023 (1 min read)

Fonseca-Fonseca v. Garland

"Mario Fonseca-Fonseca, a native and citizen of Mexico, petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (“BIA”) denial of his motion to reopen. Fonseca-Fonseca sought to reopen his immigration proceedings to apply for cancellation of removal. The BIA found that he failed to establish prima facie eligibility for cancellation of removal because he did not submit new evidence that would likely change the result in his case. The parties disagree on a threshold issue—whether the BIA applied the correct burden of proof. ... Today, we clarify that prima facie eligibility for relief requires only a threshold showing of eligibility—a reasonable likelihood that the petitioner would prevail on the merits if the motion to reopen were granted. As the BIA previously explained, a noncitizen “demonstrates prima facie eligibility for relief where the evidence reveals a reasonable likelihood that the statutory requirements for relief have been satisfied.” In re S-V-, 22 I. & N. Dec. 1306, 1308 (B.I.A. 2000) (en banc). Because the BIA applied the wrong standard in denying Fonseca-Fonseca’s motion to reopen, we remand to the agency to adjudicate his motions under the proper standard."

[Hats off to Andrew J. S. Newcomb and Elias Mendoza!]