Mike McCarthy, a Maslon volunteer for the Advocates for Human Rights, recently won remand from the Eighth Circuit, which found that the Immigration Court's reliance on an unsubstantiated report from the State Department as a basis for denying an asylum application violated due process.
The court in Banat v. Holder held that "[r]eliance on reports of investigations that do not provide sufficient information about how the investigation was conducted are fundamentally unfair because, without that information, it is nearly impossible for the immigration court to assess the report's probative value and the asylum applicant is not allowed a meaningful opportunity to rebut the investigation's allegations." The Court went on to say that the report in this case was glaringly deficient in providing the most basic indicia of its circumstantial probability of reliability.
The Advocates for Human Rights welcomed the decision. "The Eighth Circuit's recognition that reliance on unsubstantiated reports violates due process guarantees for asylum seekers brings much-needed fairness to asylum proceedings," says Michele Garnett McKenzie, advocacy director of The Advocates for Human Rights.