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Salim v. Lynch

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

August 1, 2016

Kurniawan Salim, Petitioner,
v.
Loretta E. Lynch, Attorney General, Respondent.

          Argued and Submitted June 9, 2016 Pasadena, California

         On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals, Agency No. A077-302-674

          David M. Haghighi (argued), Law Offices of David M. Haghighi, Los Angeles, California, for Petitioner.

          Tracie N. Jones (argued), Trial Attorney; Cindy S. Ferrier, Assistant Director; Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.; for Respondent.

          Before: Stephen Reinhardt and Kim McLane Wardlaw, Circuit Judges, and Edward R. Korman, [*] District Judge.

         SUMMARY [**]

         Immigration

         The panel granted a petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' denial of a motion to reopen removal proceedings based on changed country conditions concerning the treatment of Christians in Indonesia.

         The panel held that the Board improperly evaluated petitioner's submission of newly available, material evidence of changed country conditions in Indonesia, particularly in light of petitioner's conversion to Catholicism following his 2006 hearing and the change in the basis of his claim for relief. The panel concluded that the Board abused its discretion in concluding that petitioner's new evidence was "cumulative" of the evidence submitted at the time of the earlier hearing.

         The panel also held that the Board erred in its analysis of petitioner's individualized risk of future persecution, as it failed to consider the evidence relating to that question in the context of his membership in a disfavored group.

         The panel remanded for further proceedings consistent with its opinion.

          OPINION

          REINHARDT, Circuit Judge.

         Kurniawan Salim ("Salim"), a native and citizen of Indonesia, petitions for review from the Board of Immigration Appeals' ("BIA") denial of his motion to reopen his asylum and withholding of removal proceedings. Salim is a practicing Catholic, and brings his motion to reopen due to changes in country conditions for Christians in Indonesia since his initial hearing before an Immigration Judge ("IJ") in 2006. We conclude that the BIA abused its discretion when it denied Salim's motion to reopen as untimely. Substantial evidence supports his claim of changed country conditions, and he has presented sufficient evidence of individualized risk to establish a prima facie case for the relief sought. We therefore grant the petition for review and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Salim arrived in the United States on a tourist visa on January 22, 2001. He and his wife are the parents of two children, ages six and twelve, both of whom were born in the United States and are American citizens. Salim has no criminal ...


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