Matter of A-G-G-
Board of Immigration Appeals
25 I & N Dec. 486 (2011)
A-G-G- (plaintiff) was a Mauritanian citizen, and he was of black Wolof ethnicity. In 1990 A-G-G- was persecuted by Mauritanian soldiers who detained, beat, and enslaved him over the course of one month before deporting him to Senegal against his will. A-G-G- remained in Senegal for eight years, where he married a Senegalese woman and had two children. Although A-G-G- did not experience persecution by Senegalese officials and was issued a government identification number provided to foreigners, A-G-G- did not feel comfortable living in Senegal because he had no legal status and because of its proximity to Mauritania. A-G-G- never applied for permanent legal status in Senegal, and instead he sought asylum in the United States in 1999. An immigration judge (IJ) found A-G-G- credible, recognizing his past persecution in Mauritania and his well-founded fear of future persecution in Mauritania due to his ethnicity. The IJ rejected the assertion of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that A-G-G- was barred from asylum in the United States because he had been firmly resettled in Senegal. DHS had submitted insufficient direct evidence and incomplete indirect evidence that A-G-G- might have a path to permanent legal status in Senegal through his marriage. The IJ granted A-G-G- asylum, and DHS appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Because different federal circuit courts had handled similar cases differently, the BIA took the opportunity to synthesize a new framework for determining whether an applicant had been firmly resettled in a different country before seeking asylum in the United States and was, therefore, subject to a bar from asylum.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Cole, J.)
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