SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Four Ninth Circuit judges issued a strongly worded dissent, warning the en banc majority that its decision to let an asylum petitioner withdraw his petition for review may have been manipulated by a leak in the circuit.
An immigration judge denied Arangesan Suntharalinkam‘s petition to stay in the United States after finding his claim were not credible. The Sri Lankan native decided to move to Canada, but pursued his appeal on the theory that the adverse credibility hearing might hurt his chance for asylum in Canada. Judge Kozinski suggested that Suntharalinkam’s attorney abandoned the appeal after hearing that the court might rule against his client in a decision that would negatively affect other immigration cases. “Counsel may reasonably have concluded that petitioner himself had little to gain, but that others with similar claims would have a great deal to lose, if the en banc court accepted the government’s invitation to reconsider our approach to IJ credibility findings,” Kozinski wrote. Dismissal “threatens the integrity of our processes by inviting manipulation by parties unhappy with the questions at oral argument and fearful of the result they believe the court is going to reach.” See ruling in Suntharalinkam v. Keisler.