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Asylum; Persecution; Credibility

Minnesota Lawyer//February 16, 2009

Asylum; Persecution; Credibility

Minnesota Lawyer//February 16, 2009

Where the testimony of an immigrant from El Salvador seeking asylum was inconsistent as she described incidents of religious persecution, the immigration judge was entitled to request corroboration and the immigrant’s failure to provide corroboration properly resulted in an adverse credibility finding, so the denial of asylum was not error. Petition for review is denied.

Dissenting opinion by Wollman, J.: “Because I disagree with the premise that fear and shame resulting from sexual assault ‘fail[] to provide any convincing explanation’ for a petitioner’s reluctance to reveal her abuse, I respectfully dissent….

“The case before us presents only one significant inconsistency—the delayed disclosure of allegedly brutal and successive rapes. By no means should such an omission warrant immunity from an adverse credibility determination, but neither should it form the basis of such a determination in the absence of a factual analysis that takes into account and reflects an awareness of the cultural milieu that may well have given rise to the petitioner’s reluctance to initially disclose the omitted information. Accordingly, I would remand this case for an explanation that appropriately evaluates Clemente-Giron’s delayed allegation of rape and does not simply characterize her previous failure to disclose sexual abuse as an inconsistency that ipso facto justifies an adverse credibility determination.”

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