Thursday, May 01, 2008

Camara (not precedential): Cannot Fault Someone Who Cannot Understand English For Not Catching Error In English-Language Application

Camara v. Mukasey, No. 06-4000 (3d Cir. Apr. 24, 2008) (not precedential)
276 Fed. Appx. 178, 2008 WL 1823342
Judges Scirica, Chagares, and Aldisert in a per curiam opinion

IJ Annie S. Garcy and the BIA erred by faulting an asylum-seeker for not fixing a mistake on his application due to language difficulties despite having a great deal of time to review the English-language application with his lawyer. In this case, IJ Garcy and the BIA held that the asylum-seeker's explanation that an error was due to his inability to understand the English-language writing was not convincing because the asylum-seeker was in the United States quite some time before it was written and had a chance to read it over with his lawyer. The Third Circuit held that the reasoning was a mistake:
Because Camara testified that “I don’t understand English in order to be able to read again my application and make any correction,” the length of time he had to prepare and review his application becomes less relevant. Cf. Gui Cun Liu v. Ashcroft, 372 F.3d 529, 534 (3d Cir. 2004) (noting presumption that applicant was aware of signed application’s contents can be rebutted).
Both IJ Garcy and the BIA also faulted the asylum-seeker for having a letter that said he was an official of a political party on the same day he said he joined the party. The asylum-seeker explained that he was active with the party for some time before he was finally officially recognized as a member and given an official position at the same time. The Third Circuit found this a plausable explanation, where it seemed to be pure speculation that this type of situation could not happen:
This conclusion amounts to impermissible speculation, as nothing in the record indicates that Camara could not have become a General Secretary on the day he joined the RPG or that an RPG attestation letter is valid only if signed by a party official. See Jishiashvili v. Attorney General, 402 F.3d 386, 393 (3d Cir. 2005).
For Camara, Carl A. Solano of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis of Philadelphia.  For the government, Joan E. Smiley and Andrew Oliveira of OIL.


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