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Zacarias v. Immigration and Naturalization Service

921 F.2d 844 (1990)

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Zacarias v. Immigration and Naturalization Service

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

921 F.2d 844 (1990)

Facts

The Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) (plaintiff) began deportation proceedings against Jairo Jonathan Elias Zacarias (defendant) after he entered the United States illegally in July 1987. After conceding his deportability, Elias applied for political asylum and withholding of deportation. At a deportation hearing in December 1987, Elias testified that two uniformed guerillas approached his parents’ house with machine guns in January 1987. Elias testified that the guerillas attempted to persuade him to join their cause and that when he refused, the guerillas told him they would return. Elias testified that he subsequently fled from Guatemala to the United States, fearing the guerillas would return and take him from his parents’ home. The immigration judge (IJ) also considered an advisory letter from the State Department regarding Elias’s application. The State Department letter stated that Elias alleged a fear of persecution due to the conflict in Guatemala and that Elias faced hardships and dangers including forced recruitment by certain armed forces. The State Department letter stated, however, that individuals who fled their homeland due to national armed conflicts in which they are random victims of violence, intimidation, or recruitment were not generally classifiable as refugees under United States law. The IJ and the BIA dismissed Elias’s application of political asylum and withholding of deportation. Elias appealed, renewing his application for political asylum.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fletcher, J.)

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