“Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears” is a blog series documenting the harmful impact of President Trump’s judges on Americans’ rights and liberties. Cases in the series can be found by issue and by judge at this link.
In January, Trump judge Eric Miller dissented from a decision to require the reopening of an immigrant’s asylum claim as a result of new evidence. The case is De Leon-De Leon v. Barr.
In 2006, Rey De Leon-De Leon fled Guatemala to seek asylum in the United States. De Leon-De Leon feared for his life after four of his family members were murdered. In 2000, after his uncle was killed, the man who was convicted of the murder threatened in open court to kill De Leon-De Leon’s family. Two years after his uncle’s death, De Leon-De Leon’s stepfather was murdered. Meanwhile, De Leon-De Leon’s mother began receiving threatening phone calls. Years later, another one of De Leon-De Leon’s uncles and his cousin were killed. De Leon-De Leon presented this evidence at his immigration hearing.
The immigration judge denied De Leon-De Leon’s asylum petition, citing lack of proof that the events were connected to the convicted murderer’s threats, and ordered De Leon-De Leon’s removal. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed the immigration judge’s decision.
After the BIA’s decision, two men attacked De Leon-De Leon’s nephew and cut his face with pliers. They told him if he went to the police, his whole family would be killed. With this new information, De Leon-De Leon filed a motion with the BIA to reopen his case. The motion was denied for the same reason as before. De Leon-De Leon appealed to the Ninth Circuit.
The majority concluded that the BIA abused its discretion in denying De Leon-De Leon’s petition to reopen his case. Judge Miller disagreed, asserting that the new evidence would not likely change the outcome of the case.