Singh v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 09-08-2011
  • Case #: 07-70056
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge S. Thomas for the Court; District Judge C. Carney; Circuit Judge Rawlinson concurring
  • Full Text Opinion

“Extraordinary circumstances” in an untimely asylum application apply to the reason the application was delayed rather than the reason why the application was filed.

Bhupinder Singh came to the United States from India in 1999 on a nonimmigrant visa after fleeing India due to multiple instances of physical abuse by Indian police. Singh applied for and received an extension through August 17, 2000, then filed a second request, seeking an extension until August 24, 2000. Shortly thereafter, his wife was arrested in India and physically abused. Singh filed an application for asylum on November 20, 2000 while his second visa extension request was pending. Because his application for asylum came more than a year after he entered the United States, it was untimely and he was declared removable by an immigration judge. The Bureau of Immigration Affairs (“BIA”) rejected his appeals. Although maintaining lawful nonimmigrant status can be an “extraordinary circumstance” for the purpose of applying for asylum, the BIA held that Singh’s lawful nonimmigrant status was “not directly related to the filing of his application for asylum” because the application was actually triggered by his wife’s arrest. The BIA also ruled that Singh had waited too long to file his asylum application. The Ninth Circuit held that the BIA used the wrong legal standard, holding that the applicant is required to show that the extraordinary circumstances were directly related to the delay of application, not the reason why it was eventually filed. Second, the Court found that, because Singh’s application for asylum was filed less than three months after his last day of lawful nonimmigrant status, it was filed within a “reasonable” period. The Court granted Singh’s petition and remanded to the BIA for application of the correct legal standard. REMANDED.

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