Angov v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 12-04-2013
  • Case #: 07-74963
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Chief Judge Kozinski for the Court; Circuit Judge Trott; Dissent by Circuit Judge Thomas
  • Full Text Opinion

An immigration judge does not violate due process or immigration laws by relying on a State Department investigation of an asylum petitioner’s claim because such reports are presumed valid, and additional requirements would not materially enhance their reliability.

Nikolay Angov, a Bulgarian citizen, claimed he was persecuted by the Bulgarian government and sought asylum in the United States. The Immigration Judge (“IJ”) allowed an investigation into Angov’s claims, which resulted in a letter signed by Cynthia Bunton, the Director of Department of State’s Office of Country Reports and Asylum Affairs (“Bunton Letter”). The letter revealed that subpoenas Angov offered into evidence were forgeries. Subsequently, the IJ made an adverse credibility finding and denied Angov’s application for asylum. The Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) affirmed the IJ’s denial of relief. Contrary to Angov’s allegation, the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying Angov’s motion to remand because he did not provide any evidentiary support or explain why he believed C.F.R. 208.6 had been violated. Angov next alleged that admission of the Bunton Letter was a violation of his constitutional and statutory rights. In reviewing the BIA’s decision, the Ninth Circuit did not find that the Constitution prohibits the IJ and BIA from relying on consular letters like the Bunton Letter for violating due process. Instead, administrative agencies are granted deference and flexibility in their rulings. The panel noted that an alien seeking admission to the United States is given procedural rights, but those do not include a right to the quality of evidence presented against him. There is a presumption that such a letter is valid, and complying with procedural requirements other circuits have required would prevent efficient administration, lengthen the process, and burden busy and resource deprived consulates while failing to materially enhance the reliability of such reports. The panel affirmed the IJ and BIA decisions denying Angov asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. PETITION DENIED.

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