Thursday, April 12, 2007

Egbule (not precedential): Overturning IJ Tadal's Factual Finding

In Egbule v. Gonzales, Nos. 06-1384 & 06-1716 (3d Cir. April 12, 2007) (not precedential), the Third Circuit overturned Immigration Judge Marlande Tadal because her factual finding was not supported by the record.

In the case, someone seeking asylum had proof he was part of a political group -- he showed his membership card and a membership form. True there were some discrepancies in the membership form -- his age was slightly off, his profession was slightly off, and it listed his official status oddly, but the asylum-seeker testified that he even pointed out those small errors to the person in the group who prepared the form but they told him not to worry about those small details.

Interestingly, the IJ and BIA said there was no way the guy was really part of that group. But the asylum-seeker's lawyers, the government's lawyers before the Third Circuit, and the Third Circuit unanimously agreed the guy definitely was part of that group. Strange that the BIA and IJ Tadal were completely wrong. The Third Circuit thanked R. Nicholas Gimbel (of McCarter & English in Philadelphia) and Darcelle Gleason (of McCarter & English in Newark) for their pro bono advocacy on the case. They also thanked them and government counsel which included Richard M. Bernstein (of the US Attorney's office in Philadelphia) for their professionalism. What a different appointed counsel means in an immigration case -- why don't immigrants get appointed counsel in immigration cases?

It is just too bad the asylum-seeker had to suffer through wrong decisions by the BIA and Judge Tadal before getting everything corrected by the Third Circuit. It also makes you wonder what ICE counsel who litigated the case in front of IJ Tadal and the BIA was thinking...


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