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Sample Affirmative Asylum Legal Memo 

Persecution on Account of Nationality and Race

The Sample Affirmative Asylum Legal Memo from Refugee Projects might be submitted at the affirmative stage to the asylum office. The facts are integrated within the legal arguments, rather than set out in a separate section. The supporting documents are referenced for the content they prove. There is less legal argumentation than in a full brief filed before the immigration court, and there is less case law cited. The focus is on stating the relevant facts, organized around how they support each claim of the legal theory.



Persecution on Account of Nationality and Race 
Ms. A has suffered persecution on account of her nationality and race, being of [ethnic group]. Duarte de Guinac v. I.N.S., 179 F.3d 1156 (9th Cir. 1999). She and her family have been persecuted for generations because of their ethnicity. Ms. A's parents fled with her grandparents from [county] to [country] because as [ethnic group], they were not allowed opportunities to support themselves, or even feed themselves in [country] and they were regularly subject to harassment and threats. They fled after a series of systematic ethnic killings directed towards [ethnic group] people. In their own village, ninety [ethnic group] men were killed in one day [Exh. F]; Ms. A’s [relative] was one of the few people who survived. Today, [ethnic group] people are the most impacted by famine, and the least supported by the government, causing many to resort to selling their organs to survive.  [Exh. AA]. If forced to return to [country], Ms. A will face persecution again on account of her [ethnic group] ethnicity, as, in fact, she already has.  Vujisic v. I.N.S., 224 F.3d 578 (7th Cir. 2000). 

As a student, Ms. A was physically assaulted by four men who attempted to [assault] her in [country]. As a [ethnic group] refugee in the country, she found no protection from police when she reported the assault and instead faced blame from the officers. After the attack, Ms. A went to [country] hoping that she might have a different experience there than her parents and grandparents had suffered, but conditions had not changed.  Because she is visibly [ethnic group], she found herself once again fearing for her life. She learned quickly that people could spot her ethnicity, and mistreat her for it, even when she tried to camouflage herself the best she could. On one occasion, Ms. A was asked to leave a cafe when someone identified that she was [ethnic group]. Ms. A struggled to find a job sufficient to earn enough to feed and house herself, but because of her [ethnic group] features and [country] societal perceptions about that ethnicity, particularly as a single woman, everyone believed her to be a prostitute and said as much when she interviewed for work. [Exh. E, explaining requirements for women]. Prostitution had been punishable by death under [ruling group] rule and many women were executed for allegedly engaging in prostitution to feed themselves. [Exh. G]. 

Ms. A was regularly threatened, even by her own colleagues. A group of her colleagues went so far as to assault her.  After this attack, Ms. A who had sought psychological care after her [assault] and continued harassment, was told by her psychologist that she should try to meet some [ethnic group] people so that she had some sort of “cultural protectors,” since it was clear she was in danger in [country] as a [ethnic group] woman. Because of the way [country] society views [ethnic group] and the fact that they are a minority within the country, Ms. A was not protected by the police from the repeated harassment and threats or the attack that she suffered. Pan v. Holder, 777 F.3d 540 (2d Cir. 2015). [Exh. H]. When she was attempting to flee the country, she repeatedly had her life threatened at checkpoints, on account of her visible [ethnic group] ethnicity. At one checkpoint, a soldier fired an automatic weapon near her ear, and she lost her hearing for days.  She still suffers from debilitating headaches.  A few hours after this event, while still hoping for evacuation, two of the people Ms. A had been advised by her lawyers to meet up with for some protection, given that she was also a single woman, were severely beaten, one so severely that he died.  Both were [ethnic group]. [Exh. D; Aff. of attorney and military working to evacuate Ms. A].  

Ms. A has established past persecution on account of her race and nationality, meriting a rebuttable presumption of future persecution. Matter of Chen, 20 I&N Dec. 16 (BIA 1989). Owing to the repeated past persecution she suffered on account of her nationality and race—being of [ethnic group] ethnicity—and the fact that her physical features make her easily identifiable as a member of that ethnic group, Ms. A also has a well-founded fear of future persecution if she is forced to return to [country]. Duarte de Guinac,179 F.3d 1156. 

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