Monday, September 14, 2009

Appeal of Asylum Denial to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Today I’m working on an appeal of a denial of an application for asylum by the Immigration Court in Buffalo, New York. My client is from Guyana, and is Indo-Guyanese. At trial my client testified that he and his family were attacked at the family home by three Afro-Guyanese on account of their ethnicity and that he was forced flee Guyana as a result of this targeted attack.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the political climate in Guyana, there is a distinct racial divide between the Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese which has resulted in a climate of violence in the Country. The Afro-Guyanese are descendants of Africans, and perceive themselves as the true Guyanese believing that they have a greater right to Guyana than the Indo-Guyanese who arrived after them as indentured workers under British colonial rule.

To exacerbate the tension between the two ethnic groups the British made land available to the Indo-Guyanese in the late nineteenth century while denying land ownership to Afro-Guyanese several decades earlier which resulted in the reinforcement of Afro-Guyanese resentment towards the Indo-Guyanese in the colony.

These tensions have remained today in Guyana and the result is that Indo-Guyanese are being singled out by Afro-Guyanese and are suffering physical abuse and violence at the hands of government agents, as well as by individuals.

At trial we submitted the most recent Department of State Country Reports, as well as other available evidence to corroborate my client’s claim that Indo-Guyanese are being targeted by Afro-Guyanese which included evidence that establishes that in Guyana “overt racial hostility” is “getting worse” and that Indo-Guyanese are “targets of attacks” by “Afro-Guyanese militant groups”.

In my brief I am arguing that the Court committed a reversible error of law by denying my client’s application for asylum because it found that my Client testified credibly as to the attack on his family, the record contains evidence that there is a pattern and practice of continuing persecution of Indo-Guyanese in Guyana, and that my client’s fear of return is both subjectively, and objectively reasonable.

Statistically the Immigration Court in Buffalo, New York is one of the most difficult Courts in the United States to obtain a grant of asylum. We have our work cut out for us. Wish me luck.

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