Yeghiazaryan v. Gonzales

Aggie Rachel Hoffman

Case Conclusion Date:September 15, 2006

Practice Area:Immigration

Outcome:Reversed error of the Board of Immigration Appeals

Description:The Ninth Circuit remanded the case to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) which had wrongfully dismissed my client's Motion to Reopen (MTR) the Order of the Immigration Judge(IJ), denying my client political asylum. Upon reconsideration, the BIA ruled that my client was entitled to a new hearing before the IJ due to a translation error by the court interpreter. The transcript indicated that that IJ asked my client whether he would be persecuted if he had to return to Armenia. The client’s reply in the transcript was “Not persecuted, but my whole family would be humiliated." Of course, one does not qualify for asylum based on humiliation, so the IJ denied asylum. My client insisted that he never said he would not be persecuted, but he could not remember the exact words he had used. To ascertain the truth, I hired a certified court interpreter and together we listened to the taped testimony; to my delight, the interpreter told me that the previous court interpreter omitted the word “only” in his translation. In other words, the client had testified: “Not only persecuted, but my whole family would be humiliated." This made a huge difference and provided us with a legal basis for attacking the negative outcome of the case. Because we prevailed at the appellate level, the Ninth Circuit also awarded me attorney fees pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act. At the end, my client had a new hearing before a different IJ and was granted asylum.