Mingguo Chen v. William Barr

NOT FOR PUBLICATION FILED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS MAR 26 2020 MOLLY C. DWYER, CLERK U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT MINGGUO CHEN, No. 17-71603 Petitioner, Agency No. A088-283-388 v. MEMORANDUM* WILLIAM P. BARR, Attorney General, Respondent. On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Argued and Submitted February 13, 2020 Pasadena, California Before: BERZON, R. NELSON and LEE, Circuit Judges. Petitioner MingGuo Chen seeks review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’s (“BIA”) decision to affirm the immigration judge’s (“IJ”) denial of his application for asylum. We grant Chen’s petition and remand for further proceedings. 1. The BIA affirmed the IJ’s adverse credibility determination based on five grounds: (1) it found implausible the fact that Chen would marry in 1997 and wait * This disposition is not appropriate for publication and is not precedent except as provided by Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3. to register his marriage until 2005; (2) it found nonresponsive Chen’s answers to the IJ’s questions about when he arranged to come to the United States; (3) it found inconsistent Chen’s testimony about his knowledge of his wife’s reasons for having the abortion; (4) it found inconsistent Chen’s statements about whether he had been required to obtain a permit for the birth of his first child; and (5) it found inconsistent Chen’s testimony as to when he learned about his wife’s abortion and whether he had discussed the abortion with his wife. None of these grounds is supported by substantial evidence in the record. The record of Chen’s merits hearing indicates that his ability to testify was substantially impeded. Chen possesses a second-grade education and is “very illiterate.” See Arulampalam v. Ashcroft, 353 F.3d 679, 680, 687 (9th Cir. 2003). He speaks, but cannot write, in a dialect known as Fuqing. And even though he can only “barely understand” Mandarin, the hearing was conducted through a Mandarin interpreter. It is apparent from the transcript that the interpreter made numerous translation errors that seriously confused Chen’s testimony. See He v. Ashcroft, 328 F.3d 593, 596 (9th Cir. 2003). These difficulties were amplified by the IJ’s open hostility to Chen; she interrupted and intimidated him throughout, repeatedly accusing him of lying but mischaracterizing his testimony. See Garrovillas v. I.N.S., 156 F.3d 1010, 1015 (9th Cir. 1998). The five bases for the agency’s adverse credibility determination must be reviewed against this backdrop. 2 First, Chen plausibly explained the delay between his wedding and registration of his marriage when he clearly stated that he could not have registered the marriage during its first two years due to his age and that he had no practical need to register the marriage until six more years had passed, when registration was required to enroll his daughter in school. Given Chen’s reasonable explanation for the delay, the agency’s speculative finding of implausibility was not supported by the record. See He, 328 F.3d at 600; Singh v. I.N.S., 292 F.3d 1017, 1025 (9th Cir. 2002). Next, the agency ...

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