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Jason Dzubow on Political Asylum

Two Unpublished BIA Victories for Mentally Ill Respondents

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Here are two recent decisions from the BIA involving mentally ill defendants who faced persecution in their homelands:


(1) Professor Muneer Ahmad of the Yale Law School Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic reports that the BIA has reversed a decision by the IJ denying Convention Against Torture relief to a mentally ill Haitian man.  The Haitian man argued that he would be jailed in Haiti and that he would not receive his medication.  Without medication, the man would not be able to comply or adapt to the conditions in prison.  As a result of this non-compliance, he would be beaten and tortured in prison.  The BIA found that it was more likely than not that he would be tortured.  The Board's decision reversed the IJ and remanded the case for a grant of CAT relief.  The student attorneys on the case were Alice Hwang, Dale Kotchka-Alanes, Rebecca Scholtz, and Matt Vogel.


(2) Attorney Bob Jobe represented the respondent in another unpublished BIA decision.  In that case, the Board originally denied the claim, but the Ninth Circuit remanded to assess whether "Peruvians with serious chronic mental disabilities" constitutes a particular social group.  On remand, the BIA held: "Mental disabilities are clearly immutable characteristics in that those suffering from them cannot change their disability. Furthermore, people with serious and chronic mental disabilities are socially visible and the evidence of record establishes that [in Peru] they are often discriminated against and treated in an inhumane manner." 


Mazel Tov to all on these successful outcomes.

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