Pouhova v. Holder, No. 12-1665 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Pouhova is a Bulgarian citizen who entered the U.S. on a student visa in 1999. She overstayed her visa, married a U.S. citizen and applied for an adjustment of status. She was charged as removeable for assisting an alien trying to enter the U.S. illegally, 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(1)(E)(i). The government produced a written statement from the woman who attempted to use Pouhova’s Bulgarian passport to enter the U.S. in 2000. The document was taken in English, without an interpreter. The government also produced a Department of Homeland Security “record of deportable alien,” a report on that interview, prepared by the same inspector, but more than seven years later. Pouhova was ordered removed and appealed, arguing that she was deprived of her procedural rights because the immigration judge based his decision on the two hearsay documents. The Seventh Circuit vacated and remanded. Although the Federal Rules of Evidence do not apply to removal hearings, the documents are not reliable and should not have been used without giving Pouhova an opportunity to cross-examine the declarant or author.