Arej v. Sessions, No. 15-2061 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
In 2011 the southern half of Sudan (predominantly Muslim) broke away to form the Republic of South Sudan, the population of which practices Christianity or African traditional religion. Arej, born in South Sudan, was sent as a child to live in the north, where he concealed his Christian faith and his southern ethnicity. He eventually fled to Egypt. He was admitted to the U.S. as a refugee in 2005. He remains a citizen of Sudan. In the U.S., Arej committed assaults; one resulted in a death. After he completed his two-year prison sentence, an IJ ordered him removed to Sudan. Arej sought asylum on the ground that South Sudan was “increasingly volatile and dangerous.” He had missed the 90‐day deadline for filing a motion to reopen and sought an exception on the basis of changed circumstances since the issuance of the removal order. Removed to the north, Arej would be in danger as a southerner, but civil war had broken out in South Sudan; it was reported that 20 percent of the population had been displaced and an “untold number” killed. The IJ denied Arej’s motion. The BIA dismissed an appeal. The Seventh Circuit vacated, finding that the BIA ignored the growing violence in the south and U.N. concerns about genocide, which constituted evidence that conditions have materially changed.