Economic Persecution Decisions - Circuits 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11

 

Introduction

This article looks at a selection of published Federal appellate court decisions from the United States Courts of Appeals for the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits on applications for asylum and withholding of removal based on persecution on the basis of economic deprivation. This article is the last in a series of articles that covers published Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decisions [see article] and decisions of the First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth circuits [see article] on the same subject. Before starting reading this article or its companion articles, please see our introduction article to the series [see article]. The introduction provides background on the different governing standards for economic persecution claims and a general overview of the series. Furthermore, we recommend that you also consult our comprehensive article on the development of adjudicative standards for economic persecution claims since 1961 [see article].

Substantial Economic Disadvantage

Note on Structure of This Article

For each Federal circuit decision, we will specify the ground on which the claimed economic persecution was based, the country of nationality of the applicant, and the standard applied. Please see the relevant section of the introductory article to the series for an overview of the different governing standards [see section]. When reading, please bear in mind that each case is assessed on an individualized basis, and an outcome in a past case does not guarantee an outcome in a future case.

It is important to note that we are only covering a selection of interesting and significant decisions on the subject. This article is by no means intended to be a comprehensive review of every relevant decision on the issue of economic persecution through economic deprivation from the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh circuits. Unsurprisingly given its status as the largest circuit, the Ninth Circuit has a vast catalogue of published decisions on the subject.

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

The Sixth Circuit has jurisdiction over Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.

  • Stserba v. Holder, 646 F.3d 964 (6th Cir. 2011) [PDF version]

Claimed Ground Upon Which Economic Persecution Was Based: Race (Ethnicity)
Country: Estonia
Standard(s) Applied: Matter of T-Z-

Petitioner (Stserba) was an ethnic Russian who was born in Estonia. 646 F.3d at 969. She and her son were denaturalized by Estonia on the basis of their Russian ethnicity after Estonia obtained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Id. In 1998, she was stripped of her medical degree because Estonia no longer recognized the legitimacy of medical degrees obtained in Russia. Id. Although unable to continue practicing medicine, she obtained employment as a doctor at a private Russian-language school where her lack of a valid degree was overlooked. Id. She left for the United States due in large part to the medical condition of her son, for whom she became unable to obtain treatment in Estonia. Id. at 970.

The Sixth Circuit found that Stserba had been subjected to past persecution due to government sanctioned discriminatory treatment of ethnic Russians. Although she had been able to work at a Russian a school and as a babysitter after the invalidation of her medical diploma, the Court noted that the government had imposed “a sweeping limitation of opportunities to continue to work in an established profession or business.” Id. at 976-77. The Sixth Circuit disagreed with the Board's conclusion that the possibility Steserba might again find work at a Russian school meant that she did not have a well-founded fear of future persecution, noting the “sweeping limitations” on job opportunities available to her as a pediatrician. Id. at 977. The Sixth Circuit remanded for consideration of other issues.

  • Vincent v. Holder, 632 F.3d 351 (6th Cir. 2011) [PDF version]

Claimed Ground Upon Which Economic Persecution Was Based: Political Opinion
Country: Sierra Leone
Standard(s) Applied: Matter of T-Z-

Petitioner (Vincent) staked a claim of past persecution on the burning of his house by rebels due to his affiliation with the Council of Churches, an aid group. 632 F.3d at 355. The Sixth Circuit found that the “evidence and circumstances surrounding the burning of the house compel the conclusion that the burning of Vincent's house was sufficiently severe and targeted to constitute persecution. Id. at 356. It cited to Matter of T-Z-, which made clear that a large-scale confiscation of property may amount to persecution even if the applicant for relief may otherwise survive. Id. The Sixth remanded for consideration of whether the government could rebut the presumption that he had a well-founded fear of future persecution for purposes of eligibility for withholding of removal. Id.

  • Japarkulova v. Holder, 615 F.3d 696 (6th Cir. 2010) [PDF version]

Claimed Ground Upon Which Economic Persecution Was Based: Political Opinion
Country: Kyrgyz Republic
Standard(s) Applied: Matter of T-Z-

Petitioner (Japarkulova) testified that she had lost a series of jobs based on her opposition to the corruption of the wife of the then-president of Kyrgyzstan. 615 F.3d at 698. The Sixth Circuit agreed with the Board that Japarkulova failed to establish that the harm incurred from her job losses constituted past persecution. Id. at 699. In finding that the job losses were not “sufficiently severe,” the Sixth Circuit noted that, after each time she lost a job, “she moved quickly to another high-level position in the Kyrgyz economy.” Id. at 700.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

The Seventh Circuit has jurisdiction over Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

  • Orellana-Arias v. Sessions, 865 F.3d 476 (7th Cir. 2017) [PDF version]

Claimed Ground Upon Which Economic Persecution Was Based: Particular Social Group
Country: El Salvador
Standard(s) Applied: Not specified

Petitioner (Orellana-Arias) had been extorted by the MS-13 gang in El Salvador. 865 F.3d at 481. On one occasion, he had given the gang $500. Id. On other occasions, he gave them whatever he had on hand, usually ranging from $1-$5. Id. He claimed that he had been subject to economic persecution based on being a young Salvadorian male who was not a gang member and based on having returned from the United States and accordingly being perceived as having money. Id. at 482.

While the Seventh Circuit stated that the economic hardship claimed by Orellana-Arias “could not be ignored,” it held that the immigration judge did not err in concluding that it did not rise to the level of persecution. Id. at 487.

  • Xiu Zhen Lin v. Mukasey, 532 F.3d 596 (7th Cir. 2008) [PDF version]

Claimed Ground Upon Which Economic Persecution Was Based: Political Opinion (Resistance to coercive population control program)
Country: China
Standard(s) Applied: Matter of T-Z-

Petitioner (Xiu Zhen Lin) had one child when she lived in China and two children while in the United States. 532 F.3d at 596. She sought reopening of removal proceedings on the basis that her home province in China was enforcing the one-child policy more stringently than it had at the time of her original removal proceeding. Id. The Seventh Circuit agreed that changed country conditions justified reopening because it had been established that the governing committee for her home village had issued a letter stating that individuals with more than one child would be targeted for sterilization. Id. at 597. Furthermore, the laws of her province stated that those with three children would be assessed a “social compensation” fee equivalent to six times a couple's annual income. Id.

  • Capric v. Ashcroft, 355 F.3d 1075 (7th Cir. 2004) [PDF version]

Claimed Ground Upon Which Economic Persecution Was Based: Race (Ethnicity)
Country: Citizen of Bar, Montenegro in former Serbia and Montenegro
Standard(s) Applied: Kovac; Despite lower standard, the decision was later cited to favorably by the Board in Matter of T-Z-

Petitioner (Capric), an ethnic Albanian who was born in Montenegro when it was part of the former Yugoslavia, had worked in the Yugoslav customs service. 355 F.3d at 1083. As a feature of his government employment, he had lived rent-free in a building attached to the post office building. Id. After a change in government, he stated that he began to face government sanctioned discrimination because of his religion and Albanian ethnicity. Id. He was ordered to vacate his apartment in order that the post office building could be torn down to build a new one. Id. He recounted that he was subsequently fired from his job while he was being detained for five days because he had refused to serve in the Yugoslav military. Id.

The Seventh Circuit held that, even if Capric's loss of employment and job was due to his ethnicity or refusal to serve in the Yugoslav military, the claimed harms did not rise to the level of “substantial economic disadvantage” under the Kovac standard. Id. at 1092. The Court held that the loss of one job was not a “sufficiently severe economic hardship.” Id. at 1093. The Seventh Circuit also noted that Capric and his wife were given eight months to find a new apartment before having to vacate their old one. Id. Furthermore, the Seventh Circuit noted that Capric had not presented any evidence that he had looked for work after losing his job and that his wife had continued to work at the same post office. Id.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

The Eighth Circuit has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

  • Beck v. Mukasey, 527 F.3d 737 (8th Cir. 2008) [PDF version]

Claimed Ground Upon Which Economic Persecution Was Based: Race (Ethnicity)
Country: Hungary
Standard(s) Applied: Matter of T-Z-

Petitioners (Beck and Aranyi) claimed that they had a well-founded fear of economic persecution in Hungary based on their Romani ethnicity. 527 F.3d at 538. Beck stated that he had been unable to find work as an electrician after going to trade school for that purpose, and that he had subsequently returned to his home town to work at an agricultural cooperative. Id. Similarly, Aranyi testified that, after graduating from nursing school, her only job was to give enemas at a hospital. Id. She was fired from the hospital after being falsely accused of stealing a necklace, and she had returned to her home town to work as a vegetable picker. Id. Both subsequently moved back to the city where they sought work. Id. Beck obtained employment as a dishwasher. Aranyi was fired as a store clerk after she made a claim of sexual harassment, and she was fired from her second job upon being falsely accused of stealing money. Id.

The Eighth Circuit found that the “unfair prejudice and discrimination” Beck and Aranyi were subjected to did not amount to persecution. Id. at 741. It found that, although they were relegated to low-level jobs notwithstanding their “advanced schooling,” private employment was available. Id. For this reason, the Court determined that the discrimination was not “sufficiently harsh to constitute a threat to life or freedom.” Id.

  • Makatengkeng v. Gonzales, 495 F.3d 876 (8th Cir. 2007) [PDF version]

Claimed Ground Upon Which Economic Persecution Was Based: Particular Social Group; Religious
Country: Indonesia
Standard(s) Applied: Matter of T-Z-

Petitioner (Makatengkeng) claimed economic persecution on the basis of his being albino. He testified that he was unable to find employment after graduating high school. 495 F.3d 878-79. He eventually started a business servicing electronics after being supported for a time by his parents. Id. at 879..

The Eighth Circuit held that Makatengkeng's allegations did not rise to the standard of economic persecution set forth in Matter of T-Z-. Id. at 884. It relied upon the fact that he was able to start a business servicing electronics by which he was able to support his family. Id. Although Makatengkeng argued that his fear of future persecution was buttressed by the fact that he had become legally blind, which the Eighth Circuit described as “troubling,” the Court did not find a basis on which it could reverse the Board's determination that Makatengkeng had a well-founded fear of economic hardship but not persecution. Id. at 885.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

The Ninth Circuit has jurisdiction over Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington (State), Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

  • Ming Xin He v. Holder, 749 F.3d 792 (9th Cir. 2014) [PDF version]

Claimed Ground Upon Which Economic Persecution Was Based: (Resistance to coercive population control program)
Country: China
Standard(s) Applied: “Substantial economic disadvantage,” but cited to Gormley v. Ashcroft, 364 F.3d 1172 (9th Cir. 2004) [PDF version], which added “threat to life or freedom” from Matter of Acosta

Petitioner (He) had been fined the equivalent of $5,000 for his wife having a second child in China. 749 F.3d at 794. After his wife became pregnant for a third time, she was subjected to an abortion and forced sterilization. Id. He paid just under half of the fine and then went into hiding for twelve years to avoid government officials who were seeking the balance of the fine. He borrowed $50,000 to be smuggled to the United States. Id. He testified that he had not been able to leave China sooner because he was working. Id.

The Ninth Circuit found that He had not demonstrated that he had been subjected to “substantial economic advantage.” Id. at 796. It noted that he did not show any evidence of the effect the fine had had on him besides his going into hiding to avoid paying the balance. Id. The Court also noted that he was able to borrow a substantially larger sum of money for the purpose of being smuggled into the United States. Id. It added that even while in hiding, He was able to work. Id.

One noteworthy point of this decision is that the Ninth Circuit applied the “substantial economic disadvantage” standard instead of “severe” despite issuing the decision after Matter of T-Z-.

  • Vitug v. Holder, 723 F.3d 1056 (9th Cir. 2013) [PDF version]

Claimed Ground Upon Which Economic Persecution Was Based: Particular Social Group
Country: Philippines
Standard(s) Applied: Matter of T-Z-

Vitug claimed that he was persecuted in the Philippines for being a member of a particular social group as a homosexual. 723 F.3d at 1060. Vitug was subjected to several instances of physical abuse and was afraid to report the crimes to the police because of his personal experiences with police and reports of their treatment of gay men. Id. Vitug also testified that he had been unable to find employment in the Philippines because of his sexual orientation. Id.

In this case, the Ninth Circuit considered Vitug's economic persecution in conjunction with physical persecution that he incurred on account of his sexual orientation as supporting his application for withholding of removal. The Ninth Circuit found that Vitug had established past persecution and that he had sustained his burden for eligibility for withholding of removal. Id. at 1066. It stated that, “[i]n addition to being physically harmed on account of his sexual orientation, Vitug was unable to find a job in the Philippines because of his sexual orientation.” Id. at 1065.

  • Zehatye v. Gonzales, 453 F.3d 1182 (9th Cir. 2006) [PDF version]

Claimed Ground Upon Which Economic Persecution Was Based: Religion
Country: Eritrea
Standard(s) Applied: Same as Ming Xin He v. Holder, 749 F.3d 792 (9th Cir. 2014) (see above)

Petitioner (Zehatye) testified that she was persecuted for not voting in a 1993 referendum in Eritrea (she stated that she and her family did not vote because they were Jehovah's Witnesses). 453 F.3d at 1184. As a result of not voting, her father lost his carpentry license and she and her family were forced to leave their home and seek shelter with relatives. Id. In 1999, Zehatye was drafted to serve in the military and given one week to report. Id. She included a State Department report that indicated that conscientious objectors, including members of the Jehovah's Witnesses, were subjected to extreme physical punishment. Id. She fled Eritrea to avoid being punished for not serving in the military. Id.

The Ninth Circuit found that Zehatye did not establish past persecution because “[t]he government's seizure of Zehatye's father's business, while reprehensible, did not threaten Zehatye's life or freedom.” Id. at 1186.

  • Nagoulko v. INS, 333 F.3d 1012 (9th Cir. 2004) [PDF version]

Claimed Ground Upon Which Economic Persecution Was Based: Religion
Country: Ukraine
Standard(s) Applied: Matter of Acosta

Petitioner Nagoulko testified that she had been persecuted in Ukraine SSR by communists due to her being raised as a Pentecostal Christian. She was fired from her job as a kindergarten teacher after being baptized into the Pentecostal Christian Church. 333 F.3d at 1014. After being fired, she worked in a factory where she faced repeated harassment due to her religious beliefs. Id. After Ukraine gained independence and the Soviet Union disbanded, she began doing full time religious work at the Good Samaritan Mission. Id. However, she testified, the Mission was harassed by government officials as well as by people who opposed its work and who she believed were connected to the government. Id. at 1014-15. She feared that the communist party would again take over Ukraine and accordingly did not want to return. Id. at 1015.

The Ninth Circuit determined that, while Nagoulko's firing from her position as a kindergarten teacher was discriminatory, it was “not the type of economic deprivation that rises to the level of persecution.” Id. at 1016. It noted that after her firing, she obtained work at the furnace factory and then at a mission to spread her Christian faith. Id. Accordingly, the Court found that the harms suffered did not constitute a threat to her life or freedom. Id.

  • Gonzalez v. I.N.S., 82 F.3d 903 (9th Cir. 1996) [PDF version]

Claimed Ground Upon Which Economic Persecution Was Based: Political Opinion
Country: Nicaragua
Standard(s) Applied: Kovac

Petitioner (Gallegos) testified that she and her family were harassed by the Sandinistas because they held anti-communist political views. 82 F.3d at 906. She testified that the Sandinista government took away her mother's lands and gave them to Sandinista combatants. Id. Gallegos testified that she had been deprived of a ration card and of the freedom to buy goods on the legal market due to political opinion. Id. She had to buy food on the black market at three times the market price. Id. She was forced to liquidate her business because she could not buy inventory without the ration card. Id. However, she was supported by her family and testified that she did not have to leave because her family had money. Id. Gallegos began to face threats from the Sandinistas, including having her home marked “contra,” which led her to flee Nicaragua. Id.

The Ninth Circuit held that Gallegos had been subjected to economic persecution in addition to threats of physical violence. Id. at 910. It noted that the seizure of her ration card meant that she could not buy inventory for her business. Id. It also noted that her family land had been taken for political reasons. Id. The economic persecution was one factor among others which led the court to conclude that Gallegos had sustained her burden of establishing past persecution. Id.

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

The Tenth Circuit has jurisdiction over Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming.

  • Zhi Wei Pang v. Holder, 665 F.3d 1226 (10th Cir. 2012) [PDF version]

Claimed Ground Upon Which Economic Persecution Was Based: Political Opinion (Resistance to coercive population control program)
Country: China
Standard(s) Applied: Matter of T-Z-

To prevent additional pregnancies, petitioner (Pang's) wife was forced to have an IUD inserted after she gave birth for the first time. 665 F.3d at 1229. Pang and his wife went to a private physician to have the IUD removed, and she then became pregnant a second time. Id. She hid from authorities after they ordered her to have an abortion, and she gave birth to a second child. Id. Pang's wife was forcibly sterilized after giving birth to their second child. Id. Pang was fined the equivalent of five years of his family's income for the unauthorized birth. Id. He raised money from family and friends to pay half of the fine, which led to the Chinese government's recognition of his second child. Id. However, Chinese government officials confiscated his home entertainment equipment when he failed to pay the remainder of the original fine.

The Tenth Circuit found that the economic penalties imposed on Pang did not jeopardize his life or freedom, specifically distinguishing the facts involved from the Third Circuit decisions in Fei Mei Cheng v. Attorney General of U.S., 623 F.3d 175 (3d Cir. 2010); and Li v. Attorney General of the U.S., 400 F.3d 157 (3d Cir. 2005) [see section]. Id. at 1232. The Court found that his family appeared to maintain its standard of living as rice farmers notwithstanding the fine because they continued to farm their state-owned plot of land. Id.

  • Vicente-Elias v. Mukasey, 532 F.3d 1086 (10th Cir. 2008) [PDF version]

Claimed Ground Upon Which Economic Persecution Was Based: Particular Social Group
Country: Guatemala
Standard(s) Applied: Matter of T-Z-

The case consolidated two petitions that involved similar facts of individuals claiming economic persecution in Guatemala based on their Mayan ethnicity and their speaking the Mayan language rather than Spanish. We will review the Tenth Circuit's discussion of the first petitioner.

The first petitioner, Vicente-Elias, testified that he left Guatemala to escape extreme poverty. 532 F.3d at 1090. He stated that he could sometimes find work in Guatemala within the poor indigenous community, but that he could not find employment in wealthier Spanish-speaking areas because they preferred to work with people who spoke Spanish. Id. He explained that he had never learned Spanish because his father did not have enough money to send him to school. Id.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the immigration judge's ruling against Vicente-Elias. Id. at 1091. It noted that he had been able to find paying work, and that his community had an exchange economy that its members relied on in the absence of money. Id. at 1092. It stated that, while it did not minimize the poverty faced by indigenous people in Guatemala, the economic disadvantages faced by Vicente-Elias did not constitute a threat to his life or freedom. Id. Regarding Vicente-Elias's claim that he was discriminated against based on his being Mayan, the Court found that he had “referred to [this claim] in only vague terms,” and the court concluded that “discrimination is not the equivalent of persecution…” Id.

  • Baka v. INS, 963 F.2d 1376 (10th Cir. 1992) [PDF version]

Claimed Ground Upon Which Economic Persecution Was Based: Religion; Political Opinion
Country: Hungary
Standard(s) Applied: Not specified

Petitioners (Baka and Baka) claimed past persecution in Hungary SSR on the basis of their being members of the Catholic Church and not members of the Communist Party. 963 F.3d at 1379. (Note that an initial issue in the case was whether it had been proper for the Board to consider the fact that the Communist Party no longer had control over Hungary. Id. at 1376.) The petioners stated that they were harassed by fellow workers, were not eligible for certain promotions, and had less advantageous jobs than members of the party. Id. The Board held that this harassment did not indicate a level of persecution that would “so sear a person with distressing associations with a native country that it would be inhumane to force him or her to return there, even though he is in no danger of further persecution.” Id. Quoting Skalak v. INS, 944 F.2d 364, 365.

The Bakas also claimed a well-founded fear of future persecution on the basis that upon arrival in the United States they had informed their former employers that they would not be returning, and they feared that they would be unable to find employment if returned to Hungary. 963 F.3d at 1379. The Tenth Circuit held that “[p]otential job loss or generalized economic disadvantage … does not equal persecution.” Id.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

The Eleventh Circuit has jurisdiction over Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.

  • Mu Ying Wu v. U.S. Att'y. General, 745 F.3d 1140 (11th Cir. 2014) [PDF version]

Claimed Ground Upon Which Economic Persecution Was Based: Political Opinion (Resistance to a coercive population control program)
Country: China
Standard(s) Applied: Matter of T-Z-

In short, petitioners (Wu and Zhang) were a married couple who had three U.S.-born children. 745 F.3d at 1143. They claimed that they would face economic persecution in China for having violated China's family planning policy. Id.

The Eleventh Circuit noted that the three children would not be counted as violating China's family planning policy provided that Wu and Zhang did not try to establish their children's legal permanent residence in China. Id. at 1156. The Tenth Circuit reasoned that it was unlikely that Wu would be subjected to any fines at all under China's family planning policy. Id. Furthermore, the Court reasoned that even if the couple was fined as much as 60 to 100 percent of their annual income, they may be allowed to pay such a fine in installments and their wages would not be garnished. Id. Accordingly, the Court held that it was not compelled to conclude that a fine would reduce the family to an impoverished existence. Id. Wu also testified that she would not be able to register the children in the family's household. Id. at 1156-57. The Tenth Circuit recognized that, if Wu did not register her children in the household registry in China, they would be ineligible for free medical care and public education. Id. at 1157. However, the Court noted that Wu did not show that paying for these benefits would rise to the level of persecution. Id.

  • Zheng v. U.S. Att'y. General, 451 F.3d 1287 (11th Cir. 2006) [PDF version]

Claimed Ground Upon Which Economic Persecution Was Based: Particular Social Group
Country: China
Standard(s) Applied: Not specified, but cited to Barreto-Carlo v. U.S. Atty. Gen., 275 F.3d 1334 (11th Cir. 2001) (see next case) which cited to a case that applied the Kovac standard

Petitioner (Zheng) testified that he had been fired from his job for his Falun Gong practices. 451 F.3d at 1289. He was subsequently unable to find employment while he lived for three years with his parents in his home village. Id. The Eleventh Circuit held that the record was insufficient to establish past economic persecution. Id. at 1291. It noted that Zheng did not state how long he had searched for a job immediately after being fired, and that he had provided no evidence that he had searched for work in the three years he lived in his parents' village. Accordingly, it held that the evidence was insufficient to compel a finding “that he was deprived of all means of earning a living.” Id.

  • Barreto-Claro v. U.S. Att'y. General, 275 F.3d 1334 (11th Cir. 2001) [PDF version]

Claimed Ground Upon Which Economic Persecution Was Based: Political Opinion
Country: Cuba
Standard(s) Applied: Not specified, but cited to Zalega v. INS, 916 F.3d 1257 (7th Cir. 1990) [PDF version], which relied in pertinent part on Kovac

Petitioner (Barreto) was expelled from the Cuban Communist Party after he was accused of improper conduct as an American sympathizer. 275 F.3d at 1336. He testified that, after he was expelled from the Communist Party, he suffered various forms of political persecution. Id. at 1341. Specifically, he testified that he lost his job as a taxi driver and was forced to take menial work to earn a living. Id. The Eleventh Circuit ruled against Barreto, holding that “[t]his type of employment discrimination which stops short of depriving an individual of a means of earning a living does not constitute persecution.” Id.

Conclusion

This article provides a broad survey of decisions on economic persecution claims from the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits. In particular, Vicente-Elias v. Mukasey, 532 F.3d 1086 (10th Cir. 2008), is notable in that it provides one of the most in-depth analyses of standard set forth in Matter of T-Z- of any Federal appellate decision. Likewise, Ming Xin He v. Holder, 749 F.3d 792 (9th Cir. 2014), is notable for its use of the “substantial economic disadvantage” standard after Matter of T-Z-, although it is unclear what the significance of this may be going forward.

An alien who is considering seeking relief in the form of asylum and/or withholding of removal should always consult with an experienced immigration attorney. To learn more about asylum, please see our full selection of articles [see category]. Please also see our introductory article to statutory withholding of removal [see article].