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Asylum Case Raises Questions Regarding Credible Testimony

A woman seeking asylum from the Dominican Republic has fought to have her whole story heard and has just won. Ana Veronica Jimenez Ferreira made the daunting journey to the United States in order to escape her abusive common-law husband. She was immediately detained by border patrol once she crossed into Texas and would later offer enough proof at a "credible fear" interview to show that a full hearing would be necessary to make a decision.

During the removal hearing, Jimenez testified that the government in her home country failed to protect her from her husband, who had raped, beat, and kidnapped her. She filed multiple police reports and sought medical attention only to have him released with no repercussions to continue threatening her and her family. The immigration judge denied her request based on what was called "glaring inconsistencies" between her interview given while she was detained and the testimony offered in court.

Jimenez appealed that decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") on the grounds that the judge did not take into account the more than 400 pages of documents that supported her story and that the notes taken at the interview were unreliable for multiple reasons. The BIA upheld the judge's original ruling stating that nothing was offered to show the interview as being unreliable.

In a petition for review, it was concluded that both the immigration judge as well as the Board were wrong in their decisions. The interview, that held so much weight, is presented to the court as a summary rather than a verbatim transcript and it failed to take into consideration her reluctance to speak freely with government officials based on her past experience were just a few reasons listed. Both parties also failed to take into account material evidence presented. They granted the petition for review and remanded the case back to the Board for further processing.

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