Just like every immigration practitioner has been arguing for a long time, the Eleventh Circuit recently ruled that the State Department’s country reports are not dispositive on future fear determinations. The Petitioner in the case was denied his asylum claim before the immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Both had ruled that he could not show that he faces any prospects of future persecution. He had argued that he faces such prospects because he had applied for asylum and his application was denied. The immigration judge had denied his claim since the State Department’s 2011 country report was silent regarding the persecution of failed asylum seekers.
The court ruled that the State Department’s report is not exhaustive and can not rebut a specific applicant’s claim without specifically commenting on that case. The court granted the petition for review and remanded the case to the Board.
I have argued on several occasions that these reports were unreliable. I also argue that the client has a right to confront the report’s author. I applaud the case. If you would like to read it, visit this link.