"For more than two decades, Robert Mugabe has exercised power as the repressive head of state of Zimbabwe. Although he has permitted official national elections in recent years, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (“ZANU-PF”) party has maintained control of the political process through violence and corruption, specifically targeting members of the opposition for killings, abductions, and other forms of abuse. Sheya and Mtandazo Mandebvu are two individuals who spoke out in criticism of ZANU-PF and Mugabe’s government. After traveling to the United States with their two children, Tinotenda and Tatenda, the Mandebvus eventually sought asylum and withholding of removal because they fear that they will be persecuted for their opposition to ZANU-PF if they are forced to return to Zimbabwe.
The Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) affirmed the Immigration Judge’s (“IJ”) denial of the Mandebvus’ applications for asylum and withholding of removal. Because the IJ’s decision that the asylum applications were untimely was infected by legal error, we GRANT the Mandebvus’ petition with respect to their asylum claims and REMAND the case to the BIA for reconsideration. With respect to the claims for withholding of removal, we likewise GRANT the Mandebvus’ petition because the record evidence compels the conclusion that it is more likely than not that the Mandebvus will be persecuted on the basis of their political opinion or tortured if forced to return to Zimbabwe." - Mandebvu v. Holder, June 18, 2014. [Hats off to Scott E. Bratton!]