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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Judges Must Use Evidence When Determining Truth

     Before an asylum case can be denied as not credible, the Immigration Judges must explain their denial without relying on stereotypes or the country report by the Department of State.
     This month, in March 2013, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reminded Immigration Judges that they must rely on evidence.  Click here for the full opinion.  The Eleventh Circuit is the court just below the Supreme Court;  it hears appeals on asylum cases after they have been denied by both Immigration Judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals.
     In this case, the Immigration Judge denied the asylum case of a Chinese woman, in part, because it "didn't seem plausible" to him.  The Eleventh Circuit correctly reminded Immigration Judges that -- when they decide whether foreign nationals are telling the truth -- that decision MUST be based on evidence.  An Immigration Judge's "bald assertion that a given account is implausible does not necessarily make it so."
     The Eleventh Circuit also reminded Immigration Judges that they cannot rely BLINDLY on State Department reports.  The attorneys for the Dept. of Homeland Security often state that an asylum applicant's story is not true because it is inconsistent with their official report.  This case shows that common practice should FAIL in court. 

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