Singh v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 08-26-2014
  • Case #: 10-71677
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Reinhardt for the Court; Circuit Judge Thomas; Partial Dissent and Partial Concurrence by Senior District Judge George
  • Full Text Opinion

A nexus is established between mistreatment and a political opinion when the mistreatment is due to a suspicion of a crime against the government.

Kamalpal Singh is a native Indian citizen who is seeking asylum in the United States under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). Singh entered the United States after suffering severe beatings and torture by the police in India. Singh had employed a domestic servant who left for vacation but never returned. Shortly after his departure, the police came to Singh’s residence to question the servant’s whereabouts and informed Singh that the servant was a terrorist, and accused Singh of helping and employing him knowing his connections to terrorist activities. During his interrogation, Singh was systematically beaten and tortured. He fled to the United States to seek asylum. During his hearing with the immigration judge (“IJ”), Singh indicated that he feared returning to India because it was likely the police would continue their harassment. The IJ found his testimony to be credible but denied his asylum request because he failed to “demonstrate a nexus between his persecution and a protected ground.” However, the IJ “granted his request for relief under CAT” because it was likely that Singh would be tortured by the police if he returned to India. The Ninth Circuit reviewed whether Singh was eligible to seek asylum in the United States because of a political nexus. In order to establish a political nexus, Singh “must show (1) that . . . his persecutors believed that he held . . . a political opinion; and (2) that he was harmed because of that political opinion.” The police brutalities against Singh were politically motivated, as they accused him of “crimes against the government.” Even after Singh fled India, the police continued to question his wife and accused him of “acting against the government.” The panel therefore concluded that the police’s accusations amounted to political opinion and is protected. GRANTED and REMANDED.

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