Monday, December 26, 2005

M.B.: IJ Cannot Deny Asylum where Testimony Was Essentially Consistent

"M.B." v. Gonzales
Dec. 13, 2005
(the surname of the asylum-seeker is printed in the Third Circuit's decision)

The IJ incorrectly based a ruling that the asylum-seeker was not believable on two supposed reasons: (1) the aslum-seeker supposedly confused his brother's name with his cousin's and (2) the asylum-seeker supposedly looked like an actor reciting rehearsed lines by adhering closely to his written account. The IJ ignored evidence in support of the asylum claim such as his physical burns. In a footnote, the Third Circuit expressed concern with how the immigration judge interrupted the asylum-seeker's testimony, referred to a newspaper article he had excluded from the evidence, and took over the immigration agency's cross-examination of the witnesses.

First, an IJ cannot rely on inconsistency with an asylum-seeker's first affidavit when the asylum-seeker submitted a second affidavit to explain the first affidavit had an error.

Second, the asylum-seeker did not just mimic what was in the written affidavit. He elaborated on it during questioning and only seemed to mirror what was written when the IJ interrupted and asked yes-or-no questions limited just to the facts in the written affidavit.


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