Singh v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 05-21-2014
  • Case #: 10-71999
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Bybee for the Court; Circuit Judge Wallace and Senior District Judge Gettleman
  • Full Text Opinion

In a witholding of removal proceeding the burden shifts to the petitioner when the Government can show there is a fundamental change in circumstances in a country's conditions, an agency is permitted to consider the probative value of hearsay and non-hearsay evidence in this determination.

Jagtar Singh ("Singh") petitioned for review of a Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") decision that he was ineligible for withholding of removal. Singh, a native and citizen of India, entered the United States without inspection in 1999, he was served with a notices to appear and applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture ("CAT"). Singh, a Sikh, was born in India's Punjab province and joined the Akali Dal political party. Signh owned trucks used to transport people and pro-Khalistan posters. On three separate occasions Singh was detained and beaten by police and questioned about which terrorists he was meeting with until his family and the village sarpanch bribed the police to let him go. After the third occurrence, Signh fled to the U.S. while the Indian police questioned and harassed his family. The Immigration Judge ("IJ") denied his request because he was arrested for allegedly violating laws of general applicability rather than being persecuted on account of protected grounds. The BIA affirmed and review was granted and then remanded for additional findings concerning Singh's eligibility for withholding of removal. The Ninth Circuit held that "the government show[ed] by a preponderance of the evidence that there has been a fundamental change in circumstances such that Singh’s life or freedom would not be threatened on account of a protected ground upon his return to India" and that "the agency identified the particular grounds on which Singh claimed he might be persecuted and cited specific relevant evidence showing that persecution on those grounds is unlikely." Because "the government showed that there [was] a fundamental change in circumstances such that Singh’s life or freedom would not be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion if he were removed to India the denial was upheld. [The] decision is supported by substantial evidence." Petition for review DENIED.

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