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BIA Issues Significant Ruling on Credibility Determinations and Torture in Asylum Cases

On June 20, 2024, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) issued a landmark decision in Matter of H-C-R-C-. This ruling provides important clarifications on credibility determinations and the definition of torture, particularly in cases involving sexual assault.


The case involved a Salvadoran national appealing an Immigration Judge's denial of his applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT protection. The respondent claimed past persecution and fear of future harm by police and gang members in El Salvador, including allegations of false imprisonment, beatings, and sexual assault.


The BIA emphasized that applicants bear the burden of establishing their credibility.


The BIA unequivocally stated that rape is sufficiently severe to constitute torture and can never be considered a lawful sanction under the CAT. This applies even to sexual assaults occurring in prison settings, countering any notion that such acts might be considered an expected consequence of incarceration.

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