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CA9 on Credibility: Kumar v. Garland

November 30, 2021 (1 min read)

Kumar v. Garland

"Under the REAL ID Act, Immigration Judges (“IJs”) must base credibility determinations on “the totality of the circumstances, and all relevant factors.” 8 U.S.C. 1158(b)(1)(B)(iii). However, even after the passage of this Act, we continued to follow our historical rule that when an IJ made an adverse credibility finding based on multiple grounds, we would affirm that finding “[s]o long as one of the identified grounds [wa]s supported by substantial evidence and [went] to the heart of [the] claim.” Wang v. INS, 352 F.3d 1250, 1259 (9th Cir. 2003). We called this “the single factor rule.” Now all of that has changed following the recent en banc decision in Alam v. Garland, in which we held that the REAL ID Act abrogated the single factor rule and that we must affirm credibility findings only when they are supported by the totality of circumstances. 11 F.4th 1133, 1137 (9th Cir. 2021) (en banc). Hewing to the REAL ID Act and to the holding in Alam, we conclude that the bulk of the credibility findings in this case are infirm. We remand to the BIA to determine whether the few remaining factors are sufficient—in light of the totality of circumstances—to support such a finding."

[Hats off to Pardeep S. Grewal!]