Pinel-Gomez v. Garland, No. 19-3124 (2d Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
An immigration judge (“IJ”) denied Petitioner’s application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under he Convention Against Torture based on his failure to adequately corroborate his claim with documentary evidence. The Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) affirmed. Petitioner argued that the BIA was unduly deferential to the IJ’s determination that corroboration was required.
The Second Circuit denied the petition for review. The court held that the BIA reviews de novo an IJ’s determination under 8 U.S.C. Section 1158(b)(1)(B)(ii) that an applicant should provide additional evidence that corroborates otherwise credible testimony, because that is not a finding of fact. In contrast, the BIA reviews for clear error an IJ’s finding as to whether an applicant does not have and cannot reasonably obtain such corroborating evidence because that is a finding of fact. Here, the court explained that the BIA properly applied de novo review to the IJ’s request for corroborating evidence and properly reviewed for clear error the IJ’s finding that Petitioner failed to produce requested evidence that he could reasonably have obtained.