“8 C.F.R. § 1208.13(b)(3), however, lists a number of factors that an adjudicator should consider. “[W]hile the IJ and BIA do not necessarily have to address each of [8 C.F.R. § 208.13(b)(3)’s] reasonableness factors explicitly . . . the agency must explain why the factors that cut against the asylum applicant outweigh the factors in his favor.” Khattak v. Holder, 704 F.3d 197, 207 (1st Cir. 2013); see also Saldarriaga v. Gonzales, 241 F. App’x 432, 434 (9th Cir. 2007) (remanding asylum petition for further review because “the IJ did not consider whether [the petitioner’s] relocation would be reasonable”). In Khattak, the BIA determined that the petitioner could relocate to another part of Pakistan where he owned a home and had briefly lived twenty years earlier. 704 F.3d at 206-07. We remanded to the BIA, however, because (1) “neither the IJ nor the BIA addressed evidence in the record indicating that” the petitioner would not be safe in that area and (2) “neither the IJ nor the BIA made any mention of [the reasonableness] factors.” Id. at 207.
Relevant factors here include:
- “ongoing civil strife within the country “(the IJ found that “electoral violence” is common “in every electoral cycle”);
- “economic…infrastructure “(IJ found that relocation “would be economically difficult”);
- “socialandculturalconstraints”(García-Cruz speaks Quiché, a minority language that has no official status and is spoken mainly in Guatemala’s central highlands); and
- “familial ties”(all of García-Cruz’s extended family live in Chixocol).
-Yet the IJ and the BIA discussed only the fact that García-Cruz’s wife and children were in Salamá. They did not address evidence in the record that appears to undercut the conclusion that García- Cruz could reasonably relocate within Guatemala — for example, García-Cruz’s testimony that he could not live with his wife in Salamá and does not “have a home . . . [or] a job” there. Thus, neither the BIA nor the IJ “presented a reasoned analysis of the evidence as a whole.” Id. at 208 (quoting Jabri v. Holder, 675 F.3d 20, 24 (1st Cir. 2012)).
García-Cruz asserts that “every single factor” supports a conclusion that he cannot reasonably relocate, but he does little to develop this argument. He then asserts that the BIA’s “unfounded conclusion . . . itself requires reversal.” That is not accurate. To reverse the BIA’s order, rather than simply remand it, the evidence must compel us to conclude that it would beunreasonableforGarcía-CruztorelocatewithinGuatemala. Id. at 207 (citing INS v. Elías-Zacarías, 502 U.S. 478, 481 n.1 (1992)). There is significant evidence in the record supporting a conclusion that relocation would be unreasonable. But García- Cruz has understandably focused on the BIA’s failure to properly analyze the reasonableness factors, rather than whether the evidence compels a finding that internal relocation would be unreasonable, and neither the IJ nor the BIA weighed the reasonableness factors. Given the limited analysis on this issue, we think it best to remand to the BIA to consider it fully. We therefore grant the petition for review, vacate the BIA’s order, and remand for further proceedings.”
8 C.F.R. § 1208.13(b)(3) requires that internal relocation not just be “possible,” but also must be “reasonable” under all of the circumstances. Sometimes Immigration Judges at both the trial and appellate level ignore this requirement and the relevant regulation. Attorneys challenging “internal relocation” should be sure to cite the regulation and refer specifically to the non-exclusive list of the type of factors that should be considered.
Additionally, as pointed out by the 1st Circuit majority, the BIA and the IJ could have found that the respondent suffered past persecution, thus shifting the burden to the DHS to provide that there was no reasonably available internal relocation alternative. In cases of this type, where a finding granting protection could have been made, but the BIA chose not to, it appears that the BIA has both failed to follow the generous dictates of their own precedent in Mogharrabi, but also has abandoned the vision of “guaranteeing fairness and due process for all.” “Close cases” should go to the respondent under Cardoza-Fonseca and Mogharrabi. But, for the last decade plus, the BIA has been unwilling to follow the law and its own precedents mandating generous treatment of asylum seekers.