Unpub. BIA Victory: Mali, FGM, one-year bar

Unpub. BIA Victory: Mali, FGM, one-year bar

Prof. Geoffrey A. Hoffman writes: "The UH Immigration Clinic has just won an appeal from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) involving an asylum claim which was denied previously by the Immigration Court here in Houston.  The claim was filed by a mother of a family of four. She had suffered FGM (female genital mutilation); the spouse's claim was derivative to her claim.  They have two children, both girls. The student who conducted considerable research on this case was Charlotte Simon, when she was in the clinic in Fall 2009.  Redacted decision attached (may be cited as Matter of N-T-) (unpub. decision). The significance of this case is as follows:  First, the Board reversed the Immigration Judge's decision prohibiting the family from applying for asylum due to the one-year bar. Secondly, the Board upheld the IJ's findings that the mother had suffered previous FGM and was a member of a particular social group.  The IJ had found that there had been a fundamental change in circumstances in Mali, the country of origin sufficient to rebut the presumption of past persecution.  The Board however reversed, finding DHS did not meet its shifted burden of showing changed circumstances. Finally, the Board noted that DHS did not follow the precedential decision of Matter of A-T-, which concerned the proper analysis of a case where prior FGM exists."

Geoffrey A. Hoffman

Clinical Associate Professor

Director, University of Houston Immigration Clinic

100 Law Center

Rm 56 - TU II

Houston, TX 77204-6060

Tel: (713) 743-2094

Fax: (713) 743-2195

Email: ghoffman@central.uh.edu