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Q.Exceptions to Serious Non-Political Crime Bar
By Adrian (San Diego, California, United States) On Jun 04, 2012 Public
Description : I am looking for relevant US caselaw (9th Circuit, for bonus points), or any materials that address exceptions to the "Serious Non-Political Crime" bar to asylum, particularly where self-defense may be involved. Can anyone provide any insights? Thanks! Adrian Cyhan Volunteer Pro-Bono Asylum Attorney in San Diego

Replied By Lalit (Tempe, Arizona United States) On Jul 4, 2012


Replied By Palmer (Ann Arbor, Michigan United States) On Jul 7, 2012

Thanks for your question Adrian. Under INA § 208(b)(2)(A)(iii), an applicant may not be granted asylum if “there are serious reasons for believing that the alien has committed a serious nonpolitical crime outside the United States prior to the arrival of the alien in the United States.” Once serious reasons to believe are established, this exception to asylum applies mandatorily. The BIA, in Matter of Ballester-Garci,a found that the court does not have to determine whether or not the applicant actually committed the crime, just find serious reason to believe that he or she did. The 9th Circuit has at times been more lenient in excluding applicants when extenuating circumstances occur. In INS v. Aguirre Aguirre, the 9th Circuit weighed the severity of the applicant’s crime against the severity of persecution he would face if returned home. Though the Supreme Court overturned this reasoning, it might still prove persuasive. The 9th Circuit has been sympathetic toward self-defense arguments in other areas of 1F based bars to asylum. In Vukmirovic v. Ashcroft, the court found that acts done in self-defense do not automatically constitute persecution. The court may be willing to take self-defense into account when determining whether or not there are serious reasons to believe the applicant in fact committed a crime.

Replied By Ali ag (Adelphi, Maryland United States) On Jul 10, 2012

I am a malian living in dc metro area. The truth is that through out the malian history from the Mali Empire (8 century ago) to today Republic of Mali, the tamasheq ethnic people always have been the slaves masters, even today has I am writing this there is still a lots of tamasheq who own slaves. That is there culture and customs. The tamasheq (touareg) are the masters and their slaves are the "bela" ethnicity The ancient city of Timbuktu was named afer a teenage black slave belonging to the touareg(tamasheq) named buktu. I sucject you to do some research on the Malian et touareg history customs and culture before filing anything based on lies and fabrications...

Assigned Cases


Juan Anibal Aguirre Aguirre v Immigration and Naturalization Service

Date Decided : May 3, 1999 Court : Supreme Court
Jurisdiction : United States Country of Origin : Guatemala
Hathaway Number(s) : 5.4.2, 6.3.2 Site Name :
Description : Student activist fears assault or death by police and right-wing groups because of opposition to government policies, but his previous actions of burning buses, assaulting passengers, and vandalizing stores are regarded as crimes.


Matter of Ballester Garcia

Date Decided : Dec 17, 1980 Court : Board of Immigration Appeals
Jurisdiction : United States Country of Origin : Cuba
Hathaway Number(s) : 6.3.2 Site Name :
Description : Man was convicted and imprisoned in Cuba for theft, then put on a boat during Mariel boatlift, but prison sentence was too significant and circumstances were aggravating.


Predrag Vukmirovic v Attorney General

Date Decided : Apr 5, 2004 Court : Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
Jurisdiction : United States Country of Origin : Bosnia and Herzegovina
Hathaway Number(s) : 6.3.3 Site Name :
Description : Serbian member of anti-communist group formed to promote Serbian Orthodox religion fears being persecuted, but he assaulted and killed Bosnian Croats who had attacked his village.
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