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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Police: must be useless, not just inefficient

      Foreign nationals must demonstrate that the government of their countries are UNABLE or UNWILLING to control the perpetrators.  This is a basic requirement for an asylum applicant to prove, according to a recent decision by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Click here to read it.
 1262266     To win asylum, foreigners must demonstrate that they cannot be protected from suffering.  In the case before the Eighth Circuit, the Peruvian police arrested suspects believed to have attacked the asylum applicant, but were not able to convict them.  Unfortunately, even ineffective or corrupt police forces are seen -- by our government -- as proof that foreign nationals can be protected by their own governments.  Thus, the asylum case was denied.
     Fortunately, where the police force is completely unable to protect its citizens, asylum can be granted.  Such was the case for many Colombians.  The Department of State reports -- which Blandon Law used as proof in Immigration Court -- specifically stated that the government could not protect its citizens against the hyper-armed FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
    

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. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Two Ways the Death of Chavez Might Help Asylees

     Lately, Venezuelans ask me how the changes in the government might impact their chances of obtaining asylum in the United States.  They are specifically referring to the death of President Hugo Chavez and the elections that are expected soon.
     My answer is either it will affect your case dramatically or not at all.
Hugo Chavez by Communist Party of Great Britain(Marxist-Leninist)  If Venezuela's new government is nothing more than same old, same old, the U.S. government is not likely to view the death as a changed country condition.  On the other hand, if the death of President Chavez becomes the first in a series of episodes which mark deteriorating country conditions, foreign nationals may benefit in two ways.
     First, applicants may apply AFTER the one-year deadline if they can demonstrate that a changed country condition materially effects eligibility for filing.  For example, if Venezuelans in the U.S. receive death threats because of a belief that they did not appropriately mourn the president's death (by closing their Venezuelan businesses abroad for the week, let's say), these persons should now file an asylum claim based on imputed political opinion.  This is so even if the Venezuelans have been in the U.S. for over a year.
     The second -- and perhaps most dramatic way -- that changed country conditions affect asylum cases is that denied applications may have a new chance at victory.  This occurs when the prior country conditions were not so harmful that the applicant could demonstrate a well-founded fear of harm, but now -- due to changes in the country -- fear of harm is reasonable.  In this case, Blandon Law attorneys file a Motion to Reopen based on this new evidence.  When the case is reopened, we present the new evidence and allow the Immigration Judge to rule.  Asylum cases are usually won after motions to reopen because the judge has already demonstrated a predisposition to believing the applicant, which was demonstrated by granting the motion.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

18 Year Filing Delay: No Problem

      In an unpublished asylum case, the Board of Immigration Appeals held that a foreign national could file for asylum despite an 18-year filing delay.  Normally, asylum cases should be filed within one year after entry into the United States. 
      There are many exceptions to the filing deadline, however.  At Blandon Law, we have also won cases long after the filing deadline.  The longest delay was 16 years, based on the foreign national not even knowing she was Colombian until she tried to apply for a drivers license.  Her parents brought her into the U.S. when she was less than one year old and did not tell her the truth.

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