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There are three elements that an alien must establish in order to qualify for withholding of deportation or asylum based upon membership in a particular social group. The alien must (1) identify a group that constitutes a "particular social group," (2) establish that he or she is a member of that group, and (3) show that he or she would be persecuted or has a well-founded fear of persecution based on that membership.
Parastoo Fatin has petitioned for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (the "Board" or "BIA") requiring her to depart or be deported from the United States. Arguing that she has a well-founded fear of persecution and that she is likely to be persecuted if she returns to her native country of Iran, Fatin contended that the Board erred in holding that she is not entitled to asylum, withholding of deportation, or suspension of deportation.
Was Fatin entitled to withholding of deportation or asylum?
The court denied the petition for review of a decision from the BIA. The court found that Fatin failed to satisfy the third element that an alien must establish in order to qualify for withholding of deportation or asylum based on her membership in a particular social group, namely that she would have been persecuted or had a well-founded fear of persecution based on her membership. The court reasoned that Fatin failed to show in the record below that she was a member of the group of women whose opposition to the Iranian laws in question were so profound that she would choose to suffer the severe consequences of noncompliance. Accordingly, the court held that she was not entitled to withholding of deportation or asylum based on her membership in a particular social group. The court likewise held that Fatin’s argument regarding political opinion failed for reasons similar to those based on her group membership argument. Finally, the court rejected Fatin’s procedural argument that the BIA improperly denied her request for suspension of deportation under 8 U.S.C.S. § 1254(a)(1) where the BIA considered the facts presented by Fatin.