Ninth Circuit on Past Persecution: Mendoza-Pablo v. Holder

Ninth Circuit on Past Persecution: Mendoza-Pablo v. Holder

"This case requires us to determine whether Mendoza-Pablo’s early deprivations growing directly out of the unquestionable persecution of his mother and, more generally, his and his parents’s fear of further persecution growing directly out of the Guatemalan government’s across-the-board persecution of Mayans, constitutes persecution under the INA. ... [O]n the particular facts of this case, we conclude that where a pregnant mother is persecuted in a manner that materially impedes her ability to provide for the basic needs of her child, where that child’s family has undisputedly suffered severe persecution, and where the newborn child suffers serious deprivations directly attributable not only to those facts, but also to the material ongoing threat of continued persecution of the child and the child’s family, that child may be said to have suffered persecution and therefore be eligible for asylum under the INA. ... [W]e conclude that the BIA’s ruling that Mendoza-Pablo did not suffer past persecution because his exposure to persecution was “second hand” reflects an incorrect view of the applicable law, which permits the BIA to take account of the indirect effects of persecution as well as the direct effects, at least where, as here, the connection between the two is so immediate and strong. We therefore remand Mendoza-Pablo’s petition to the BIA for further proceedings not inconsistent with this Opinion." - Mendoza-Pablo v. Holder, Feb. 7, 2012.  [Hats off to attorney Robert L. Lewis of Oakland!]