Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Elias-Zacarias

Immigration And Naturalization Service V. Elias-Zacarias

Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Elias-Zacarias

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Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Elias-Zacarias, , is a case in which the United States Supreme Court ruled that a Guatemalan man seeking asylum in the United States of America as a result of forced conscription in a guerrilla army did not establish persecution on account of political opinion, a legal requirement for asylum.


In July 1987, Elias-Zacarias was arrested for illegally entering the United States without inspection. In deportation proceedings, he testified that six months before he was arrested, in his native Guatemala, two armed, uniformed guerrillas covering their faces with handkerchiefs entered his home. The armed guerrillas demanded that he and his parents join the rebellion, but they all refused. Elias-Zacarias did not want to join the guerrillas because they were against the government, and he was afraid the government would retaliate against him if he joined the guerrillas. Elias-Zacarias left Guatemala in March, 1987, because he was afraid the guerrillas would return.

After an immigration judge denied his application for asylum, and the Board of Immigration Appeals denied an appeal, he submitted new evidence saying that after he had left Guatemala, the guerrillas had returned to his home twice more seeking to recruit him. The BIA rejected the new evidence, saying it would not change the fact that he was not legally eligible for asylum. He appealed this denial to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which concluded that Elias-Zacarias...
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