Monday, November 9, 2009

Haxhiu v. Mukasey, Asylum applicant anticorruption activities a form of political speech, whistleblower must expose corruption publicly 519 F.3d 685

Haxhiu v. Mukasey (7th Cir. 2008)(Flaum)
Oral Argument | Full Text

Whether asylum applicant's anticorruption activities constituted an expression of a political opinion? To receive asylum protection on account of a political opinion, a whistleblower must have sought a political result by going outside of the scope of his official duties and the chain of command. A whistleblower must seek a political result by exposing corruption publicly. That conduct within the scope of one's governmental duties--such as a prosecutor expressing his view within the chain of command and pursuing an investigation--cannot alone constitute political expression. Must establish that the government was either complicit in persecution or unwilling or unable to protect from private parties who persecuted.

The noncitizen, a native and citizen of Albania, applied for asylum and other relief, alleging that he had been persecuted on account of his political opposition to government corruption. The IJ found him credible but denied relief based on a finding that the alien's persecution was not on account of his political opinion and that state actors were not responsible for the harm alleged. Here, the alien had worked for the government and was ultimately fired because of his efforts to resist government corruption. After he was fired, he pursued his opposition of government corruption in the press. His son was beaten badly and his daughter was the victim of an attempted kidnapping. He and his family fled to the United States. The primary issue before the court was whether the harm suffered by the alien was on account of his political opinion and whether the Albanian government was directly or indirectly responsible for his treatment. The court concluded that the alien's anti-corruption efforts were an expression of a political opinion and there was ample evidence in the record that agents of the Albanian government persecuted him in tandem with private actors.

Followed by: Darwich v. Holder, 330 Fed. Appx. 596, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 11308 (7th Cir. 2009) LexisNexis Headnotes HN3

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