Monday, January 02, 2006

Chen: Failure To Provide Corroborating Evidence Can Doom An Asylum Claim

Chen v. Gonzales
No. 03-4887
Dec. 29, 2005

The Third Circuit applied the rule on when an immigration judge can require corroborating evidence in an asylum case. The BIA’s rule on corroboration in In re S-M-J- involves a three step analysis: (1) an identification of facts for which it is reasonable to expect corroboration; (2) the presence or absence of such corroboration in the record; and (3) the adequacy of applicant’s explanation for its absence. In this case, the asylum-seeker failed to provide either corroborating evidence or an explanation why there was none available regarding an abortion in China, residing with her aunt, an absence from work, and the person who impregnated her.

The Third Circuit rejected the IJ's ruling that a witness was not credible because she lacked corroborating evidence because the BIA's rule is that a lack of credibility cannot be based on the failure to have corroborating evidence. It instead is based on contradictions, incredible details, and inconsistent testimony. But because there was a lack of corroborating evidence, this error did not affect the result and the Third Circuit upheld the decision to deny asylum.


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