Tomic v. Holder
To prevail on an asylum claim, a petitioner is required to establish a well-founded fear of future persecution. The petitioner, a citizen of Bosnia, applied for asylum, withholding of removal and relief under the Convention Against Torture. Hartford Immigration Judge Michael Straus denied his request. The Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed, and the petitioner appealed. The 2nd Circuit rejected the petitioner's claim that the immigration judge failed to adequately consider his wartime experiences. Substantial evidence supported the immigration judge's conclusion that the petitioner failed to prove past persecution. Although a sniper allegedly attempted to shoot the petitioner's father, a Croatian who married a Serbian, that did not count as persecution of the petitioner. Evidence that other children beat the petitioner, when he refused to help harass a Serbian, was insufficient to find there was ethnic persecution attributable to the state. Although severe economic conditions can qualify as economic persecution, evidence that the petitioner's mother was fired because she was a Serb did not require a conclusion of economic persecution, because Tomic's father and sister continued to work, and Tomic was able to attend school. Although the petitioner also argued that in 2007 Wahabi Muslim radicals issued threats, more than "mere harassment" is required to establish persecution. The immigration judge did not abuse his discretion when he found that threats only constituted harassment, even though they led to emotional distress. "[B]ecause the agency reasonably concluded that [the petitioner] failed to demonstrate past persecution," wrote the 2nd Circuit, "it was not required to afford him a presumption of an objectively reasonable and, thus, well-founded fear of future persecution if returned to Bosnia." The petitioner did not prove that Bosnian government officials would be unable or unwilling to protect him from Wahabi radicals and that he could not resettle safely in Croatian areas of Bosnia. The agency did not abuse its discretion, when it found that the petitioner failed to prove a well-founded fear of future persecution. The 2nd Circuit denied the petition for review.