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WIDJAJA v. BARR (2019)

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United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Christine Oliviani WIDJAJA, Petitioner, v. William P. BARR, Attorney General, Respondent.

No. 15-70553

Decided: November 29, 2019

Before: MURGUIA and HURWITZ, Circuit Judges, and ZOUHARY,* District Judge. Adam Fleming, Law Offices of Gihan Thomas, Los Angeles, CA, for Petitioner Kate Deboer Balaban, Esquire, Trial Attorney, Brendan Thomas Moore, Trial Attorney, DOJ - U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division/Office of Immigration Litigation, Washington, DC, Chief Counsel ICE, Office of the Chief Counsel, Department of Homeland Security, San Francisco, CA, for Respondent


Christine Oliviani Widjaja (“Petitioner”), a native and citizen of Indonesia, petitions for review of a 2015 Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) order denying a motion to reopen her removal proceedings. We grant the petition for review and remand to the BIA for reconsideration of Petitioner’s motion to reopen in light of all of the evidence before it, including the Freedom House and United States Commission on International Religious Freedom reports, as well as our intervening opinion in Salim v. Lynch, 831 F.3d 1133 (9th Cir. 2016).

Salim also concerned a Christian Indonesian, and we held there that the BIA abused its discretion when it denied the petitioner’s motion to reopen. Id. at 1137–41. We concluded that, based on evidence similar to the evidence presented here, there was substantial evidence of materially changed country conditions for Christians in Indonesia between 2006 and 2013. Id. at 1137–39. We also concluded that, based on evidence similar to the evidence presented here, and considering that Christians in Indonesia are a “disfavored group,” the petitioner had sufficiently demonstrated an individualized risk of persecution. Id. at 1139–41.

Because the BIA did not have the benefit of Salim when it rendered its decision in this case, we remand to allow the BIA to address the application of Salim to Petitioner’s motion to reopen in the first instance. See, e.g., Kui Khi Sie v. Sessions, 740 F. App'x 123, (9th Cir. 2018) (remanding to the BIA to address the application of Salim to petitioners’ motion to reopen); Harahap v. Sessions, 723 F. App'x 534 (9th Cir. 2018) (same); Lalenoh v. Sessions, 705 F. App'x 591 (9th Cir. 2017) (same).


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