Monday, January 02, 2006

Konan: Overturning BIA For Failing To Explain Asylum Decision

Konan v. Gonzales
No. 04-3467
December 30, 2005

The Third Circuit will overturn and remand cases if the BIA does not explain its decision. Here, the BIA did not explain why it rejected an asylum-seeker's claim that being the son of a military police officer is a particular social group for asylum law purposes.

Basic agency principles would require that the BIA explain its decision, but apparently in this case it did not do its job and did not explain why it was rejecting the claim.

The Third Circuit therefore had to overturn the decision and urge the BIA to make a ruling that includes the reasons for its conclusion.

This mistake by the BIA is not the first time in an asylum case. In Vente v. Gonzales, the BIA "missed the mark" by dismissing an asylum-seeker's argument that was based on his family's personal experience by referring to general conditions that the public faced.

On another point, the Third Circuit overturned the IJ and BIA's ruling that the asylum-seeker had not suffered from persecution on account of imputed political opinion in the past. The undisputed evidence was that in the midst of unrest in the Ivory Coast, rebels attacked government supporters and loyalists during attacks in September 2002. Although it is difficult to discern the motives of attackers during a civil war, in this case the evidence showed the attacks were based on imputed political opinion.


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