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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

Second Circuit Albanian Asylum decision: what constitutes a "political act"

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has issued a nonbinding summary order that reverses a denial of an application for asylum, remanding the case back to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) for further proceedings.  See Volaj v. Holder, July 1, 2010, unpub.

The case involves two Albanians: a mother and her son.  In her appeal Volaj argues that the BIA misapplied the holding in Yeuqing Zhang v. Gonzales, 426 F.3d 540, 547-48 (2d Cir. 2005) in finding that her husband's whistle-blowing activities did not constitute an expression of political opinion for purposes of qualifying as a refugee under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(42).

Although this case doesn't constitute binding precedent it is worth noting because the 2nd revisited its previous ruling in Zhang that "[w]here the dispute is such that the asylum seeker did not merely seek economic advantage but mounted a challenge to the legitimacy and authority of the ruling regime itself, and where the applicant can show that this 'political threat' is the motive for the persecution perpetrated or feared, the applicant can meet the definition of a 'refugee.'" Yeuqing Zhang 436 F.2d at 547.

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