Serrano-Alberto v. Attorney General

859 F.3d 208 (2017)

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Serrano-Alberto v. Attorney General

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
859 F.3d 208 (2017)

  • Written by Alexander Hager-DeMyer, JD

Facts

Ever Ulises Serrano-Alberto (plaintiff) was a professional soccer player and citizen of El Salvador. Serrano-Alberto was targeted by the MS13 gang and fled to the United States. Serrano-Alberto was apprehended after illegally crossing the border, and he applied for asylum and a withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). With the assistance of a translator, Serrano-Alberto appeared pro se in his removal hearing before an immigration judge. During the hearing, the judge had an exasperated and argumentative tone. The judge interrupted Serrano-Alberto’s testimony multiple times and directed him to provide only yes or no answers to her questions. The judge was also unfamiliar with the case record for the hearing, incorrectly assuming that Serrano-Alberto was not a professional soccer player and believing he had been convicted of extortion in El Salvador. The judge continued her interruptions, preventing Serrano-Alberto from finishing answers to the judge’s questions. During Serrano-Alberto’s testimony, the judge steered the conversation to inconsequential details and away from the matters relevant to the asylum petition. The judge denied Serrano-Alberto’s petition and issued several findings that were unsupported by the record and that contradicted the evidence. The decision was affirmed by the Board of Immigration Appeals. Serrano-Alberto appealed to the Third Circuit, claiming that the immigration judge violated his due-process rights under the Fifth Amendment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Krause, J.)

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