Sunday, May 14, 2006

Filja: Good Ruling On Reopening Asylum Case Using New Evidence

Filja v. Gonzales
Filed 05/12/06, No. 04-1782

The Third Circuit overturned the BIA's interpretation on what kind of new evidence needs to be shown to file a motion to reopen an asylum case many months after the BIA made its ruling. Asylum cases can take years to resolve so new evidence can arise after the IJ makes a ruling but while the case is being appealed. It makes sense that the strict time limits for a motion to reopen the appeal should be relaxed if brand new evidence arose that could not have been provided at the prior proceeding. The Third Circuit ruled that the "prior proceeding" means the IJ's proceeding, which is where the system accepts evidence and testimony (appeals are rooted in the record developed by the IJ). The BIA mistakenly had ruled the new evidence had to become available only after the BIA a year later rejected the appeal from the IJ's decision.

The Third Circuit also rejected the BIA's cursory statement that it carefully reviewed the record and saw no merit to one of the asylum-seeker's arguments. The BIA must offer more analysis than simply saying they thought about it and believe there is no merit.


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