Cabas v. Barr, No. 18-1630 (1st Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The First Circuit reversed the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner's motion to reopen his removal proceedings, holding that Petitioner showed at least a reasonable chance that he will face future persecution based on his political opinion, and therefore, reversal was warranted.
After Petitioner, a Venezuelan native and citizen, overstayed his visa U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement commenced removal proceedings against him. An immigration judge (IJ) found Petitioner ineligible for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. The BIA and First Circuit affirmed. Seven years later, Petitioner submitted a motion to reopen his removal proceedings, arguing that conditions had materially worsened for political dissidents in Venezuela since the denial of his applications and claiming prima facie eligibility for asylum and withholding of removal relief. The BIA denied the motion, concluding that Petitioner failed to establish a material change in country conditions and rejecting Petitioner's evidence of a well-founded fear of future persecution. The First Circuit reversed, holding (1) the BIA's conclusion that country conditions in Venezuela had not worsened was arbitrary; and (2) the BIA improperly concluded that Petitioner's evidence could not establish prima facie eligibility for asylum and withholding of removal.