Petition to Review a Decision of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. I&NS No. A25-305-026
Before: Wright, Canby and Wiggins, Circuit Judges
Tetemke Mekonen Woldesmayate, a citizen of Ethiopia, challenges the denial of his application for political asylum and waiver of deportation. He also contends that the immigration Judge deprived him of his right to counsel by denying his request for a continuance. We deny the petition for review.
I. ELIGIBILITY FOR POLITICAL ASYLUM
Under 8 U.S.C. § 1158(a), the Attorney General has discretion to grant asylum to "refugees." INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca, 480 U.S. 421, 428 n.5 (1987). The immigration and Naturalization Act in turn defines a "refugee" as a person who is unable to return to his country "because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. . . ." 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42)(A). We review the BIA's factual determination that an alien has failed to prove a well-founded fear for substantial evidence, and will not reverse if the Conclusion is substantially reasonable. De Valle v. INS, 901 F.2d 787, 790 (9th Cir. 1990). The same standard applies to our review of credibility assessments. See Turcios v. INS, 821 F.2d 1396, 1399 (9th Cir. 1987).
Woldesmayate presents two possible bases for reversing the denial of political asylum: (1) the decision was not based on substantial evidence; and (2) he retained his original refugee status even after becoming a permanent resident. We consider these issues in turn.
Woldesmayate contends that: (1) he suffered actual persecution; and (2) his fear of persecution is well-founded within the meaning of the statute. The BIA, however, concluded that the case is not made by the evidence.
To established eligibility for asylum based on a well-founded fear of future persecution, applicants must demonstrate both objective and subjective fear. Estrada-Posadas v. United States INS, 924 F.2d 916, 918 (9th Cir. 1991). An applicant's "'candid, credible, and sincere' testimony" demonstrating a genuine fear satisfies the subjective component. Blanco-Comarribas v. INS, 830 F.2d 1039, 1042 (9th Cir. 1987). The objective component requires "credible, direct, and specific evidence in the record, of facts that would support a reasonable fear that the petitioner faces persecution." Rodriguez-Rivera v. United States Dep't of Imm. & Naturalization, 848 F.2d 998, 1002 (9th Cir. 1988) (emphasis in original).
The record indicates that Woldesmayate claimed to have been jailed and released in 1974, but later stated that the date was 1973. Similarly, he claimed to have left for Sudan in 1974 and 1977. Woldesmayate further stated that he was arrested only once, but at another time claimed that it happened twice. Finally, he did not account for the three years between his alleged release in 1974 and his departure for Sudan in 1977.
The BIA allowed for Woldesmayate's communication problems and nevertheless concluded that these inconsistencies and the lack of important details undermined his claims. It particularly stressed his failure to account for the 1974-77 period. Accordingly, substantial evidence supports the BIA's determination that no actual persecution occurred. Similarly, Woldesmayate failed to present "candid, credible and sincere testimony" and thus did not satisfy the subjective component of the well-founded fear standard. See Berroteran-Melendez v. INS, 955 F.2d 1251, 1256-58 (9th Cir. 1992) (finding substantial evidence in light of inconsistencies and lack of detail in application).
Woldesmayate maintains that the BIA's credibility assessment is unfounded, because that court never observed his demeanor. This argument is without merit. The BIA is entitled to draw derivative inferences from the facts themselves. Cf. Penasquitos Village, Inc. v. NLRB, 565 F.2d 1074, 1078 (9th Cir. 1977); see also Universal Camera Corp. v. NLRB, 340 U.S. 474, 488 (1951) (the "substantiality of evidence [ in support of the Board's decision] must take into account whatever in the record fairly detracts from its weight"). Moreover, the IJ's ...