Deng Arej was born in the southern part of Sudan, but later relocated to the northern part of Sudan. He was admitted to the United States as a refugee before Sudan split into two countries. As a result of a criminal conviction, he was ordered removed. After 8 months of detention, he sought to reopen his case based on changed country conditions, including the rapidly worsening conditions in South Sudan. The Immigration Judge denied his motion, finding that he had not demonstrated any material changed conditions. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed.
The Seventh Circuit reversed. The Court noted that the BIA "ignored the growing violence in the south during this period." Furthermore, a competent immigration service would not ignore world events. The dramatically worsening conditions in South Sudan have been widely reported, with the young nation described as “cracking apart” and United Nations officials raising concerns about genocide. Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed, every major cease‐fire that has been painstakingly negotiated by African and Western officials has been violated, and dangerous fissures are opening up within the South Sudanese military. And time doesn’t stand still. The Board’s order dismissing Arej’s appeal from the immigration judge’s denial of his motion to reopen was issued on May 8, 2015—almost two years ago. Considering that Arej has not yet been removed and that the order was perfunctory, the Board should consider whether he should be allowed to present evidence concerning current conditions in the two Sudans."
The full text of Arej v. Sessions can be found here: