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Addo v. Barr.

No. 18-9560.  Board of Immigration Appeals. Judge Hartz. Petition for Asylum—Withholding of Removal—Convention Against Torture—Substantial Evidence.

December 14, 2020

Petitioner is a native and citizen of Ghana. He fled Ghana to the United States and applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. The immigration judge denied the application, and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed.

Petitioner argued on appeal that the BIA’s ruling that he could safely avoid persecution by relocating within Ghana is unsupported by substantial evidence. A noncitizen who has demonstrated past persecution is entitled to a presumption of a well-founded fear of persecution, which the government can rebut in several ways, including by showing by a preponderance of the evidence that the noncitizen can avoid future persecution by relocating within the citizen’s country of nationality. Petitioner is the son of the Challa tribe’s chief. For several years, the Challa tribe was in a land dispute with the Atwode tribe, and the Challa chief won several cases in court over the disputes. In response, the Atwode committed numerous acts of violence against petitioner and his family. Petitioner unsuccessfully attempted to escape this violence by relocating throughout Ghana several times, including into the capital city of Accra. For example, after relocating his family to a new part of Accra, petitioner received text messages telling him that the Atwode were monitoring his location and that “moving from place to place” would not save him. Accordingly, the ruling that petitioner could safely avoid persecution by relocating within Ghana was not supported by substantial evidence.

The petition for review was granted, and the BIA’s decisions on petitioner’s asylum and withholding of removal claims were reversed. The matter was remanded to the BIA for further proceedings.

Official US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit proceedings can be found at the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit website.

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