Iranian Citizen Denied Asylum Repeatedly Despite Removal Of Group From Terrorist

An Iranian national has repeatedly sought asylum here in the United States where she has resided since 1996. The woman, Laila Rajabi, initially petitioned for asylum after coming here and appealed the denial of her petition to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). They refused to overturn the denial.

But they did reconsider the case years later when it was determined that a taped interview she gave was not included in the original case. However, a comparison of the statements she made on the tape and her written application for asylum caused the previous denials to be upheld because the conflicts in her testimony raised doubts as to whether she possessed actual knowledge of the organization, the MEK, or Mojahedin-e Khalq, for which she claimed to be a recruiter and student member. One of the lessons for those who seek asylum here in the United States for fear of persecution is that inconsistent evidence presented in support of such a claim can cause the reviewing tribunal to disbelieve their allegations.

More recently Ms. Rajabi raised a new reason for her removal to be withheld: the State Department has removed the MEK from the list of organizations it deems a terrorist group. Through her counsel, she argues that her prior affiliation with such a group should not constitute a bar to her staying in this country. The Immigration Judge found that statutorily she was ineligible for asylum, the court agreed to a deferral because, upon her re-entry to Iran, it was believed authorities there would be informed of her past affiliation and that she could be subjected to torture on that basis. The BIA vacated the deferral because IJ’s order was “unclear as to what evidence supports the finding of a clear probability of torture and whether each `link’ in the chain of events leading to her torture was demonstrated to be more likely than not.”

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision in the case of Rajabi v. Attorney General of the United States, Nos. 12-2839, 13-1446. (3rd Cir. Ct. App. 2014) finding that an alien’s past support to an organization that qualified as a “terrorist organization” at the time the support was rendered precludes that individual from relief under our immigration laws even if that organization later is removed from the State Department’s list of such organizations. Accordingly, Ms. Rajabi is running out of options which would permit her to stay in this country.

The Shulman Law Group, LLC has successfully handled and effectuated many asylum cases. The firm and its staff are well-versed in the nuances and underpinnings of claims of persecution involving individuals from many countries. What sets our firm apart from other law offices is that we skillfully prepare comprehensive applications that include country reports, autobiographical statements, affidavits from friends, family and colleagues, psychological evaluations, and expert witness testimonials–strategies that predispose the applicant to a higher probability of an approval. Our firm maintains an up-to-date knowledge on the latest case law which affects the manner in which these cases are reviewed.