Castillo-Villagra v. INS

972 F.2d 1017 (9th Cir. 1992)


Teresa (Ps) and her two adult daughters unsuccessfully sought asylum based on what Ps stated as a well-founded fear of persecution by the Sandinistas because of their anti-Sandinista political opinions. While their case was pending, Violeta Chamorro, a Democrat, was elected president of Nicaragua, and her democratic coalition, UNO, defeated the Sandinistas in an election. The Immigration Judge found that the mother was lying and none of the three had a well-founded fear of persecution because of their political opinions. He noted that the mother's application said her arrest was at her home, but Teresita placed the arrest at a demonstration. The rock throwing and other actions of the 'so-called mobs' did not amount to persecution. He was not persuaded that the MDN was 'a subversive group bent on the violent overthrow of the government' so he saw no likelihood that the sisters would be persecuted for their affiliation with it, especially since they were quickly released after their arrests. He doubted that they were active in the MDN at all because of lack of documentary corroboration. The Judge believed that if they returned to Nicaragua and 'simply went about their business without more,' the government would not persecute them, although 'if they decided to get involved in demonstrations or distributing literature, perhaps they would be harassed.' He, therefore, found that they were not entitled to asylum. The Board of Immigration Appeals took administrative notice of the election and determined that because the Sandinistas had lost, the threat to petitioners from the Sandinistas had disappeared. Ps were given no notice or opportunity to be heard regarding whether notice should be taken or whether the political changes in Nicaragua obviated their fear of returning. P appealed.