Negusie v. Holder (U.S. Supreme Court)
The Immigration and Naturalization Act allows for discretionary asylum for refugees, and it also limits officials’ power to deport aliens whose lives or freedom would be threatened upon deportation. Aliens cannot receive either of these protections, however, if they themselves have assisted in the persecution of others in their home countries. We argued that the “persecution” rules should not diminish an alien’s chances to stay in the United States if he or she persecuted others involuntarily, in response to credible threats of death or serious bodily harm. Reversing the judgment of the Fifth Circuit, the Supreme Court found in our client’s favor. The Supreme Court ruled that the Board of Immigration Appeals had misread the Court’s past decisions as saying that an alien’s motivation or intent were not relevant to whether he or she had “assisted” in persecution in the past. Thus, the Court instructed the Board to decide this question as a matter of first impression.