Saturday, June 30, 2007

Zheng (not precedential): Credibility Finding Cannot Rely On Flawed Reasoning/Speculation

In Zheng v. Gonzales, No. 06-2751 (3d Cir. June 25, 2007) (not precedential), the Third Circuit overturned Immigration Judge Donald V. Ferlise and the BIA for incorrectly finding an asylum-seeker to be not credible based on "supposed inconsistencies that disappear on examination, flawed reasoning, and speculation that is not based on the record."

Some examples:
  • The same attorney signing his two asylum applications does not automatically mean that the attorney sat down and went over the details in the first application with him -- especially when the attorney did such a bad job as to forget to include the critical supporting statement in the first application.
  • Not knowing many details about Christianity does not mean the person could not be a parishoner at an underground church in China -- it is possible someone attends a church that does not provide many details about Christianity because it is a poorly organized, basic, underground church. In any case, many of his answers exhibited an understanding of some Biblical teachings.
  • Saying a church was raided 9/15 and then again two weeks later is consistent with saying that a church was raided twice in September. It was wrong to say it's inconsistent.
  • Someone travelling from Philadelphia to New York City to attend a church once every two weeks is actually possible. It is not obviously incredible.


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