The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued an important en banc (full panel) opinion in favor of the Law Offices of Haitham E. Ballout and its client. The case significantly impacts persons seeking relief from deportation based on the likelihood that they will be tortured in their country of origin. Our client in this case was repeatedly tortured by corrupt police officials in Mexico who were forcing him to participate in their criminal enterprise. However, an Immigration Judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals found that he could not be saved from deportation by receiving relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) because he had failed to prove that it was impossible for him to safely relocate somewhere in Mexico, a standard that had been advanced by the Ninth Circuit.
In its March 27, 2015 opinion, the Ninth Circuit reversed course and clarified that petitioners seeking relief under CAT are NOT required to prove that it is impossible for them to safely relocate within their country of origin. In so doing, the Court overruled four prior cases which it found were not in line with the federal statute implementing CAT. The outcome of this case had serious implications for protecting people from torture, and we are pleased that the Court reached a reasonable conclusion.
Read the full opinion: Maldonado v. Holder, Jr.
Torture ruling offers home to Bay Area immigrant via SF Chronicle