June 1 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the government Tuesday in a dispute over two asylum seekers' claims, overturning the Ninth Circuit's ruling that the claims were credible.
At issue, were the consolidated cases of two foreign nationals, Cesar Alcaraz-Enriquez and Ming Dai, seeking asylum, court records show. The Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed an immigration judge's rulings that both were ineligible for relief.
In Alcaraz-Enriquez' case, the BIA found his story about a domestic violence incident changed from the time of probation report to the hearing. In Dai's case, he testified that that his family feared persecution by Chinese officials, but initially failed to disclose that his wife and daughter voluntarily returned to China after accompanying him to the United States.
Still, the Ninth Circuit granted them relief based on a special rule that their testimony was credible because the BIA and immigration judge did not explicitly make an "adverse credibility determination."
Justice Neil Gorsuch, who delivered the unanimous opinion Tuesday, found that the lower court should have accepted the BIA's decisions as "conclusive unless any reasonable adjudicator would be compelled to conclude to the contrary," under the Immigration Nationality Act.
"This does not mean that the BIA may 'arbitrarily' reject an alien's evidence," Gorsuch wrote in the opinion. "But it does mean that, so long as the record contains 'contrary evidence,' of a 'kind and quality' that a reasonable fact finder could find sufficient, a reviewing court may not overturn the agency's factual determination."
Gorsuch also found that the Ninth Circuit placed too much weight on the "presumption of credibility."
"The Ninth Circuit erred by treating credibility as dispositive of both persuasiveness and legal sufficiency in these cases," Gorsuch wrote.