On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals. INS No. A28-463-489
Before: Wallace, Chief Judge, Farris and Brunetti, Circuit Judges.
Jerzy Czachor, a native and citizen of Poland, petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' ("BIA") order affirming the immigration Judge's ("IJ") decision finding Czachor deportable and denying Czachor's requests for asylum and withholding of deportation. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1105a(a). We deny the petition for review.
We review the BIA's denial of asylum for abuse of discretion. Acewicz v. INS, No. 91-70257, slip op. 969, 978 (9th Cir. Feb. 4, 1993). We review the BIA's factual findings under the substantial evidence test. Id. We review de novo the BIA's determinations on questions of law. Desir v. Ilchert, 840 F.2d 723, 726 (9th Cir. 1988).
Asylum/Withholding of Deportation
Section 208(a) of the Refugee Act of 1980 ("Act"), 8 U.S.C. § 1158(a), authorizes the Attorney General, in her discretion, to grant asylum to an alien who is a "refugee." A refugee is defined in the Act as an alien who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her home 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); see INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca, 480 U.S. 421, 423 (1987).
To establish eligibility for asylum based on a well-founded fear of persecution, an applicant must demonstrate a fear that is both subjectively genuine and objectively reasonable. Estrada-Posadas v. INS, 924 F.2d 916, 918 (9th Cir. 1991). An applicant's "candid, credible and sincere testimony demonstrating a genuine fear of persecution" satisfies the subjective component of the standard. See Blanco-Comarribas v. INS, 830 F.2d 1039, 1042 (9th Cir. 1987) (quotations omitted). The objective component requires "a showing, by credible, direct, and specific evidence in the record, of facts that would support a reasonable fear that the petitioner faces persecution." Rodriguez-Rivera v. INS, 848 F.2d 998, 1002 (9th Cir. 1988) (per curiam) (quotations and emphasis omitted).
An alien is entitled to withholding of deportation pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1253(h) if he or she establishes a "clear probability of persecution." INS v. Stevic, 467 U.S. 407, 413 (1984); Blanco-Lopez v. INS, 858 F.2d 531, 533 (9th Cir. 1988). The "clear probability" standard applicable to withholding of deportation claims is more stringent than the "well-founded fear" standard applicable to asylum claims. De Valle v. INS, 901 F.2d 787, 790 (9th Cir. 1990). Accordingly, an alien who fails to meet the "well-founded fear" standard required for asylum also fails to meet the "clear probability" standard required for withholding of deportation. Berroteran-Melendez v. INS, 955 F.2d 1251, 1258 (9th Cir. 1992).
In assessing the reasonableness of the alien's fear of persecution, the BIA may take administrative notice of changed political conditions within the applicant's native country and of the effect of those changes on the applicant's fear of persecution. Acewicz, No. 92-70257, slip op. at 977.
Czachor's request for asylum is based in part on his fear that, as a member of Solidarity, he will be persecuted if he returns to Poland. Nevertheless, substantial evidence supports the BIA's determination that Czachor has failed to demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution based on his membership in Solidarity. See id. at 974-78. Furthermore, the record shows that Czachor had an opportunity to rebut the facts noticed by the BIA. See Castillo-Villagra v. INS, 972 F.2d 1017, 1029 (9th Cir. 1992). Thus, Czachor was not denied due process, see Acewicz, No. 91-70257, slip op. at 978, and the BIA did not abuse its discretion by taking administrative notice of the changed conditions in Poland and of the effect of the changes on Czachor's fear of persecution, see id. We therefore agree with the BIA that Czachor has failed to establish statutory eligibility for asylum on that basis.
Czachor also requested asylum on the basis that he has been and will be denied employment opportunities and other economic benefits because of his political beliefs. In Kovac v. INS, 407 F.2d 102 (9th Cir. 1969), this court held that "a probability of deliberate imposition of substantial economic disadvantage upon an alien for reasons of race, religion, or political opinion is sufficient to confer upon the Attorney General the discretion to withhold deportation." Id. at 107. This standard also applies to determine whether an alien is eligible for asylum. See, e.g., Desir, 840 F.2d at 727. A claim for asylum based on economic hardship "depends on something more than generalized economic disadvantage at the destination." Raass v. INS, 692 F.2d 596, 596 (9th Cir. 1982).
Here, we agree with the BIA that Czachor's employment and other economic difficulties did not amount to persecution. The evidence does not establish the sort of deliberate imposition of substantial economic harm required to support a claim for asylum. Compare Desir, 840 F.2d at 727 (petitioner's ability to earn livelihood severely impaired by threats of violence, eventually resulting in petitioner moving to different county); with Saballo-Cortez v. INS, 761 F.2d 1259, 1264 (9th Cir. 1985) (denial of discounts on food and special work permit not sufficient to establish persecution). Accordingly, substantial evidence supports the BIA's finding that Czachor failed to establish his eligibility for asylum based on economic hardship.*fn1
Moreover, because Czachor failed to demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution, he also failed to meet the higher standard of clear probability of persecution. See Berroteran-Melendez, 955 F.2d at 1258. Accordingly, the BIA did not err ...