Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Latest Word on the "Nexus" Requirement for Asylum

Since the Supreme Court decided INS v. Elias-Zacarias (1992), the lower courts have grappled with the necessary "nexus" between past or threatened persecution and one of the five enumerated grounds for asylum status (race, political opinion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, and religion). The statutory language requires past or threatened persecution "on account of"one of the five grounds. The U.S. Court of Appeals has offered the most recent word on the "nexus" requirement: 

"The IJ and the BIA both concluded that the harsh treatment Ndonyi suffered in Cameroon was not on account of her political, religious, or social affiliations, and denied her application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Because the IJ and the BIA failed to properly analyze the nexus between the persecution faced by Ndonyi and her political and religious beliefs, we grant the petition for review and remand the case for further proceedings." Ndonyi v. Mukasey, Sept. 2, 2008 (opinion by Judge Kanne, with Judges Posner and Sykes).


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