Immigration Law

CA1 on Asylum, Persecution, Indonesia: Panoto v. Holder

"Petitioner Marla Panoto and her husband, both Indonesian citizens, petition for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") affirming an order of an Immigration Judge ("IJ") denying her request for asylum.  Because the BIA gave an insufficient explanation of why Panoto failed to demonstrate that she suffered past persecution in Indonesia, we grant her petition for review, vacate the BIA's order of removal, and remand the case for further proceedings. ... Neither the IJ nor the BIA addressed the government's role, if any, in the two specific incidents of mistreatment that Panoto suffered. Instead, the IJ and the BIA held that the mistreatment Panoto endured, even if credited, did not involve harm severe enough to constitute past persecution. Making the same assumption of truthfulness as the IJ and BIA did, our question is whether learning that a bomb was planted outside one's place of worship and, six months later, experiencing a violent hijacking at the hand of anti-Christian extremists could involve harm acute enough to establish past persecution. We conclude that these incidents are sufficiently extreme, close in time, and particularly targeted at Christians to clear the threshold." - Panoto v. Holder, Oct. 22, 2014.  [Hats off to Ilana Greenstein and Harvey Kaplan!]