Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ninth Circuit Says BIA Failed to Apply "Disfavored Group" Analysis in Case of Christian Indonesian Petitioning for Asylum

"Christian Indonesians Are a 'Disfavored Group'"

"A Protestant Indonesian family might not be deported after the 9th Circuit granted their petition for review, saying the Board of Immigration Appeals failed to recognize that 'Christians in Indonesia are a disfavored group,' the targets of violence and persecution by Muslim extremists.

Riori Tampubolon and Erlinda Silitonga entered the United States on tourist visas and married in 1995. They have two children, 12 and 14, both U.S. citizens.

The Pasadena-based appeals court agreed with the immigration judge and the BIA that the couple waited too long to apply for asylum.

But the court said the couple might be eligible for withholding of removal based on their Christian faith. Indonesia is nearly 90 percent Muslim; Protestant Christians account for 6 percent of the country's population...

'The Indonesian government's support of, or at the very least, acquiescence in, militant expressions of Islam has subjected Christians to violent persecution in Indonesia,' [Judge Harry] Pregerson wrote.

Christian churches have been burned, bombed, and vandalized by Muslim extremists, and Muslim extremists allegedly threatened to kill people who attended Silitonga's sister's church in 2000.

The judges said the record clearly shows that Christian Indonesians are a disfavored group. Because the BIA failed to apply disfavored group analysis to the petitioners' withholding claim, the court granted the couple's petition for review and remanded."
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