CA11 on Credibility: Wu v. U.S. Attorney General

CA11 on Credibility: Wu v. U.S. Attorney General

"[T]he IJ’s repeated references that Wu’s story “just seems suspicious to me” or “just seems implausible to me” evince a determination made on personal perception or whim, not evidence. ... Our review of the record reveals no evidence to support the IJ’s suspicious view of Wu’s story. ... In the absence of evidence to support it, an IJ’s bald assertion that a given account is implausible does not necessarily make it so. Thus, and though the substantial evidence standard greatly constrains our examination of the IJ’s findings, even its yoke does not bind us where, as here, the IJ’s conclusion fairly appears to have been invented out of whole cloth. ... In the absence of any finding as to Wu’s demeanor, the consistency of her statements, or some other individualized reason for questioning her credibility, we cannot say that the IJ’s adverse-credibility determination was supported by “specific, cogent reasons.”  That result makes good sense, too. Were we to imbue State Department reports with dispositive power as to an applicant’s credibility, large swaths of applicants might be talismanically rendered lacking in credibility simply because the substance of their claims was contrary to that contained in a static country profile. Such a mechanism would vitiate the individualized determination our precedent requires. That cannot be—nor is it—the law. ... on this record, and in the absence of any individualized reason to question Wu’s credibility, the generalized Country Profile so heavily relied upon by the IJ cannot, without more, serve as the sole predicate for a finding that Wu is not credible. Accordingly, and although we dismiss that portion of Wu’s claim relating to CAT relief for want of subject-matter jurisdiction, we grant the petition as it relates to the BIA’s adversecredibility determination, vacate the BIA’s decision, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion." - Wu v. U.S. Attorney General, Mar. 12, 2013. [Hats off to Gary Yerman!]