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Immigration Law

A.G. Barr on Asylum, Persecution, Duress, Coercion: Matter of Negusie

Matter of Negusie, 28 I&N Dec. 120 (A.G. 2020)

(1) The bar to eligibility for asylum and withholding of removal based on the persecution of others does not include an exception for coercion or duress.

(2) The Department of Homeland Security does not have an evidentiary burden to show that an applicant is ineligible for asylum and withholding of removal based on the persecution of others. If evidence in the record indicates the persecutor bar may apply, the applicant bears the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that it does not.

"I vacate the Board’s June 28, 2018 decision. The Board’s decision did not adopt the best interpretation of the persecutor bar viewed in light of its text, context, and history, as well as of longstanding Board precedent and policies of the Department of Justice. In addition, the decision did not appropriately weigh relevant diplomatic considerations, and it introduced collateral consequences that would be detrimental to the administration of immigration law. The Board’s decision also placed an initial burden on the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to show evidence indicating the applicant assisted or otherwise participated in persecution, which is contrary to the plain language of the governing regulations. Because the Board incorrectly recognized a duress exception to the persecutor bar, and incorrectly placed an initial burden on DHS to show evidence the persecutor bar applies, I overrule those determinations and any other Board precedent to the extent it is inconsistent with this opinion. I vacate the Board’s decision and remand this matter to the Board with instructions to place the case on hold pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 1003.1(d)(6)(ii)(B) pending the completion or updating of all identity, law enforcement, or security investigations or examinations. Once those investigations or examinations are complete, the Board should enter an appropriate order."