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Thiam v. Holder, 677 F.3d 299 (6th Cir. 2012)

Case Conclusion Date: 04.30.2012

Practice Area: Immigration

Outcome: Case remanded for further proceedings

Description: Thiam, a black woman and a member of the Wolof tribe in Mauritania, suffered physical and sexual violence by white Arab members of the military. She was sent to Senegal, where she lived for about 14 years. She arrived in the U.S. in 2004 with a fake Senegalese passport and applied for asylum. Thiam attended three hearings in Cleveland in 2007, but the presiding IJ was in Arlington, Virginia and conducted the hearings via videoconference. For her final hearing, Thiam traveled to Arlington, believing that her credibility would be apparent in a personal appearance. The IJ found Thiam credible, but concluded that she was barred from seeking asylum because she had firmly resettled in Senegal (8 U.S.C. 1158(b)(2)(A)(vi)). The IJ found, that though Thiam did suffer past persecution, improvements in the human rights record of Mauritania indicated that she could return to Mauritania. Thiam appealed and sought remand for consideration of new evidence regarding a military coup in Mauritania. The BIA affirmed, applying Fourth Circuit law. The Sixth Circuit declined transfer to the Fourth Circuit as not in the interest of justice, and remanded. The BIA did not follow its own framework for firm-resettlement determinations.

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