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Judge Should Grant Continuance for Asylum or Withholding Claim Applicant to Obtain Corroborating Evi

In a recent published BIA decision from March 19, 2015, the BIA concludes that when a Judge finds that an asylum or withholding applicant has not provided corroborating evidence to establish his claim the Judge should grant a continuance for the applicant to obtain said evidence.

The decision does require the applicant show good cause as to why the evidence was not already provided. This burden would be fairly easy to meet given the difficulty in obtaining corroborating documents from foriegn countries and the nature of asylum. In detained cases this burden will always be easy to meet because of the relatively short time frame given to collect evidence and the limited resources of a respondent being held in jail.

Matter of L-A-C-, 26 I&N Dec. 516 (BIA 2015)

(1) Where an Immigration Judge finds that an applicant for asylum or withholding of removal has not provided reasonably available corroborating evidence to establish his claim, the Immigration Judge should first consider the applicant’s explanations for the absence of such evidence and, if a continuance is requested, determine whether there is good cause to continue the proceedings for the applicant to obtain the evidence.

(2)Although an Immigration Judge should consider an applicant’s explanation for the absence of corroborating evidence, section 208(b)(1)(B)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1158(b)(1)(B)(ii) (2012), does not require the Immigration Judge to identify the specific evidence necessary to meet the applicant’s burden of proof and to provide an automatic continuance for the applicant to obtain that evidence.

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