Court Overturns BIA Deportation Order in Asylum Case

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on May 02, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Immigration deportation appeals aren't easy. Here's a case out of the First Circuit Court of Appeals that overturns the opinion of the Board of Immigration Appeals in an asylum case.

The petitioner is a Cambodian citizen who has been in the U.S. for several years. Eventually, after his non-immigrant visitor visa ran out, he applied for asylum under the Convention Against Torture.

In his application for asylum, he told the story of his time in Cambodia. Specifically, he explained how he provided information on the entry of various terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda, into Cambodia, with the Cambodian government turning a blind eye due to the fact that they were paid off.

The U.S. agent whom he informed was then supposedly instrumental in getting him to the United States.

So, he asserted, it would be difficult for him to return to Cambodia, as he feared for his safety.

What a story. Unfortunately, the Immigration Judge didn't buy it, finding inconsistencies in the story.

The case went to the Board of Immigration Appeals. It suffered the same fate there.

On appeal at the First Circuit Court of Appeals, however, the court focused on the petitioner's corroboration of his dealings with the U.S. agent in Cambodia.

The court stated the basics; that in order to be eligible for asylum, the applicant would need to establish his status as a refugee. That could be done if the applicant had a well-founded fear of persecution "on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion."

When the petitioner is fighting deportation, however, the level of proof of those circumstances is much higher.

The applicant-petitioner in this case was unable to produce any evidence of the involvement of a U.S. Agent. The two lower courts ruled that this failure to corroborate was detrimental to the case.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals, however, took a different approach. In light of the circumstances, it wasn't reasonable to expect the applicant to produce corroborating evidence of his story.

As such, his deportation appeal was granted and the lower court judgment was thrown out.

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