GARFIELD GREENWOOD V. MERRICK GARLAND, No. 17-72389 (9th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Petitioner asserted that changed circumstances in his native Jamaica— a spike in violence against members of the People’s National Party—justified his untimely second motion to reopen. Because an Immigration Judge in an earlier proceeding found Petitioner not credible and questioned his actual identity, the Board of Immigration Appeals (“Board”) ruled that the new evidence of political violence did not matter because Petitioner may not even be a member of the People’s National Party.
The Ninth Circuit denied in part and dismissed in part holding that the Board may rely on a previous adverse credibility determination to deny a motion to reopen if that earlier finding still factually undermines the petitioner’s new argument. The court concluded that the Board did not abuse its discretion in denying Petitioner’s motion to reopen. The court explained that to prevail on a motion to reopen alleging changed country conditions where the persecution claim was previously denied on adverse credibility grounds, the respondent must either overcome the prior credibility determination or show that the new claim is independent of the evidence that was found to be not credible.
Here, Petitioner did not challenge the adverse credibility finding but instead argued that his new evidence was independent of the evidence that was found to be not credible. The court rejected that argument. The court explained that the IJ had previously found Petitioner’s testimony about his identity not credible, thus undermining his entire claim. Moreover, Petitioner’s claims remained the same throughout his proceedings. The court concluded that the basis of Petitioner's motion to reopen therefore remained intertwined with his credibility problem.