Gorsuch calls out 9th Circuit as unanimous high court shoots down immigration decision

by WorldTribune Staff, June 1, 2021

Justice Neil Gorsuch on Tuesday slammed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for its practice of taking immigrants at their word on asylum claims.

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that an appellate court may not presume an immigrant’s testimony to be credible when a lower court did not specifically address that person’s credibility, Law & Crime reported.

Gorsuch, writing for the Court, explained that unlike other circuit courts, the Ninth Circuit has had a longstanding practice of assuming immigrants are being truthful, even when the immigration judge has made no such finding.

“For many years, and over many dissents, the Ninth Circuit has proceeded on the view that, ‘[i]n the absence of an explicit adverse credibility finding [by the agency], we must assume that [the alien’s] factual contentions are true’ or at least credible. This view appears to be an outlier,” Gorsuch wrote in his 15-page opinion.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled on the cases of Garland v. Alcaraz-Enriquez and Garland v. Dai, which involved immigrants who petitioned for asylum in the U.S., allegedly fearing persecution if returned to their home countries. In both cases, the immigrants were denied asylum by the presiding immigration judge and by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).

Both immigrants appealed the denials to the Ninth Circuit, which in turn ruled in their favor.

Gorsuch wrote, “it is long since settled that a reviewing court is ‘generally not free to impose’ additional judge-made procedural requirements on agencies that Congress has not prescribed and the Constitution does not compel.”

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