From the February 2017 edition of EOIR’s Immigration Law Advisor:
“The Board of Immigration Appeals has long emphasized that “no decision should ever rest, or even give the slightest appearance of resting, upon generalizations derived from evaluations of the actions of members of any group of aliens. Every adjudication must be on a case-by-case basis.” Matter of Blas, 15 I&N Dec. 626, 628 (BIA 1974). But what if counsel for the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) or the Immigration Judge notices significant similarities between the documents submitted in an applicant’s proceedings and the proceedings of another applicant with a similar claim? How can officers of the court raise these types of concerns about possible indications of fraud without compromising confidentiality or the due process rights of the applicant? In 2007, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit encouraged the Board to provide a framework for addressing inter-proceeding similarities and provide “expert guidance as to the most appropriate way to avoid mistaken findings of falsity, and yet identify instances of fraud.” Mei Chai Ye v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 489 F.3d 517, 524 (2d Cir. 2007). The Board provided this guidance in a 2015 decision, Matter of R-K-K-, 26 I&N Dec. 658 (BIA 2015), which has thus far been cited approvingly in published and unpublished decisions by two circuit courts of appeals. See, e.g., Wang v. Lynch, 824 F.3d 587, 591–92 (6th Cir. 2016); Zhang v. Lynch, 652 F. App’x 23, 24 (2d Cir. 2016).
This article analyzes the procedural framework articulated by the Board in Matter of R-K-K- for considering document similarities in immigration proceedings. First, the article will briefly discuss the need for such a framework. Second, the article will provide examples of what may—or may not—constitute each step that must be met in the three-step framework. Finally, the article will discuss due process and confidentiality concerns that arise when considering inter-proceeding similarities in making credibility determinations.”
My friend Roberta is one of the all-star Attorney Advisors and Judicial Law Clerks who help the U.S. Immigration Judges at the U.S. Immigration Court in Arlington, VA with their most difficult decisions. Working with Roberta and others like her, both present and past, was one of the true high points of being an Immigration Judge. I’m sure that their intellectual engagement, enthusiasm, and overall positive outlook helped extend my career. Thanks again to Roberta for passing along this terrific scholarly contribution. Due process forever!