CA2 on Social Group, Cooperating Witnesses: Gashi v. Holder

CA2 on Social Group, Cooperating Witnesses: Gashi v. Holder

"Azem Gashi, a citizen of Serbia, petitions for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) affirming the oral decision of Immigration Judge (“IJ”) Alan A. Vomacka, which denied Gashi’s application for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). ... Gashi contends he was targeted by supporters of Haradinaj by reason of his cooperating with the war crimes investigators. ... We do not agree with the IJ’s conclusion that members of a group consisting of persons who witnessed Haradinaj’s alleged crimes and cooperated with international investigators were not visible to both persecutors and the wider community.  Gashi’s name was published on a list of potential witnesses against Haradinaj, his fellow villagers were aware that he had spoken with investigators, and other potential witnesses were harassed.  These facts satisfied the social visibility requirement for a particular social group.   Therefore, we cannot accept the BIA’s conclusion that a group consisting of potential witnesses against Haradinaj does not constitute a particular social group.  To the contrary, we conclude that the proposed group of cooperating witnesses is a particular social group under the INA.  The proposed group meets the three requirements of having an immutable, common characteristic, having some degree of social visibility, and being defined with sufficient particularity." - Gashi v. Holder, Dec. 18, 2012.