Carballe (defendant) was born in Cuba and legally immigrated to the United States in 1980. In 1983 he was convicted of robbery with a firearm, attempted robbery with a firearm, and grand theft. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. At his immigration hearing, Carballe requested asylum and withholding of deportation based on the fact that he would be persecuted in Cuba. He testified that the Cuban government would persecute him because he was one of the first Cubans to seek asylum in the Peruvian embassy, an event that led to a mass exodus of Cubans. He also testified that he would be persecuted because of his robbery convictions. The immigration judge denied asylum and found him ineligible for withholding of deportation because Carballe had been convicted of a particularly serious crime and constituted a danger to the community of the United States.