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Zhi v. Holder

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

May 16, 2014

AI JUN ZHI, Petitioner,
v.
ERIC H. HOLDER, JR., Attorney General, Respondent

Submitted, Honolulu, Hawaii September 16, 2013

Argued October 16, 2012

On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals. Agency No. A099-890-509.

Jisheng Li (argued), Honolulu, Hawaii, for Petitioner.

Ethan B. Kanter (argued), Senior Litigation Counsel; Tony West, Assistant Attorney General; Richard M. Evans, Assistant Director; Andrew Jacob Oliveira, Trial Attorney, Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., for Respondent.

Before: Stephen Reinhardt, Sidney R. Thomas, and Richard A. Paez, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1089

PAEZ, Circuit Judge:

Petitioner Ai Jun Zhi, a Chinese citizen, petitions for review of the denial of his application for asylum and withholding of removal. As we explain below, one of the bases for the immigration judge's (" IJ" ) adverse credibility determination is not supported by substantial evidence and another must be set aside and remanded as a result of legal error. The IJ also failed to provide Zhi with proper notice and a reasonable opportunity to produce corroborating evidence, as required by our opinion in

Page 1090

Ren v. Holder, 648 F.3d 1079, 1090-92 (9th Cir. 2011). We therefore grant Zhi's petition and remand for further proceedings.

I.

Zhi has primarily lived outside of China since 1998, first in Saipan and later in Guam. From 1992 to 2002, Zhi was married to a Chinese citizen, with whom he has two daughters.[1] On August 17, 2005, Zhi entered Guam on a B-1 non-immigrant visa, and married a United States citizen, Shirley Munos Santos, six days later. The couple divorced on December 21, 2006. Santos did not file a visa petition on Zhi's behalf during their marriage.

In 2004, Zhi opened a bookstore in China, which he intended to be a source of income when he returned. His brother-in-law, Hong Zhang, managed the store. Zhi testified that in April 2005, Zhang called Zhi to ask if Zhang's friend, a Falun Gong practitioner, could keep books about Falun Gong in the bookstore. Zhi agreed. Zhi testified that on February 13, 2006, the local police found out about the books and closed the bookstore. The police detained Zhang for two days, but then released him after learning that Zhi owned the bookstore.

Zhi received a phone call from his father the day the police closed the bookstore. Zhi's father told him never to come back to China or contact either of his parents again, and then promptly hung up. The police searched Zhi's parents' home and informed them that if they did not report Zhi upon his return to China, Zhi's parents would bear responsibility for his criminal actions. Zhi also received a call from a ...


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