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This decision is one in a series of decisions from the Seventh Circuit criticizing the immigration courts for unjust decisions.

Mr Bosede fled to the United States in 1980 and became a permanent resident two years later. He married a U.S. citizen and has two children, and became active in his community through his church, volunteer work, and college classes. He also had run-ins with the law, however, and after three minor convictions, two involving drugs, he was placed in deportation proceedings in 2000 by U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Because Mr. Bosede had been diagnosed with HIV in 1997, he believed being forced to return to Nigeria would be a death sentence. In immigration court, he submitted evidence that he would be detained in Nigeria under a law that mandates a five-year jail sentence for any Nigerian convicted of a drug-related crime in another country. He also submitted evidence showing HIV-positive prisoners in Nigeria receive inadequate medical attention and are subject to mistreatment by prison guards.

In its decision, the Seventh Circuit finds that the Immigration Judge did not properly consider the evidence to determine whether Bosede’s drug conviction met the “unusual circumstances” necessary to rebut the charge that his convictions constituted “particularly serious crimes.” The court also comments that the immigration judge took a cavalier attitude toward Bosede’s concerns about his ability to survive imprisonment in Nigeria. First, the court criticizes the Immigration Judge for suggesting that Bosede could avoid imprisonment by bribing Nigerian officials because he escaped prison in this manner when he first fled to the United States. Secondly, the Immigration Judge had dismissed Bosede’s concerns that he would be jailed upon his return to Nigeria despite strong evidence that the law mandating such imprisonment was still in effect. “Our reading of the administrative record leaves us convinced that the IJ cared little about the evidence and instead applied whatever rationale he could muster to justify a predetermined outcome,” wrote Judge Rovner in the Seventh Circuit opinion. “The flaws in the IJ’s opinion call into question the fairness of the proceedings, and since we cannot be confident that Bosede’s hearing comported with statutory requirements or met minimum standards of due process, Bosede is entitled to a new one.”

Read the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals opinion, 512 F.3d 946 (7th Cir. 2008).