Immigration Judge Has Initial Jurisdiction for Unaccompanied Youth
December 12, 2014
A case was appealed to the 6th Circuit Court of appeals, with the issue of whether the asylum claim of an unaccompanied alien child, was properly denied by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Harmon v. Holder, 758 F.3d 728, 730, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 13041, 1, 2014 FED App. 0147P (6th Cir.), 2 (6th Cir. 2014)
The appeal was valid for a review, even though the appellant attempted to apply for Canadian status. The legal issue at contention was whether or not immigration judge had the original jurisdiction according to the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). The Circuit Court held that the immigration judge did because TVPRA did not transfer initial jurisdiction over asylum applications filed by former unaccompanied alien children to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. (USCIS).
However, like many asylum cases, this one did not have a necessarily happy ending. Ms Harmon, the appellant, was held ineligible to asylum because her testimony did not unquestionably prove her parents’ political opinion cause their death. As a fugitive from Liberia during the civil war there, the Court also held that, Ms. Harmon, as a consequent could prove much less that her own persecution was tied to her political opinions. Therefore, Ms. Harmon’s motion to remand and petition for review were both denied.