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MULYANI v. HOLDER, NO. 13-1653

Decided: November 14, 2014

The Fourth Circuit denied Petitioner’s claim for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’s (“BIA”) decision.

Petitioner (“Mulyani”) grew up as a Christian in Indonesia, which is a primarily Muslim country. Mulyani and her husband came to the U.S. in 2000 for vacation, and chose to stay in the U.S. when their vacation ended. Petitioner asserts that they would endure religious persecution if they were forced to return to Indonesia, describing several instances of religiously motivated violence she experienced during her youth because of her Christian faith. In September 2008, the Department of Homeland Security initiated removal proceedings against Mulyani. Petitioner conceded removability under the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), but sought relief in the form of asylum by arguing that the Indonesian Government was indifferent, if not hostile, towards Christian rights. The immigration judge (IJ) denied all relief, and the BIA also concluded that she was not entitled to relief. Mulyani filed a petition with the Fourth Circuit for review.

The Fourth Circuit concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to consider whether Mulyani’s asylum application was untimely and qualified for an extraordinary circumstances exception to the one-year time limit because Congress has expressly restricted the Court’s power to review agency decisions that involve a time bar. Further, the Fourth Circuit found unpersuasive Mulyani’s argument that the Indonesian Government would be unwilling, or unable, to protect her from religious persecution, and that the BIA ruled in error on this issue. The Fourth Circuit stated that substantial evidence supported the BIA’s determination that Mulyani does not qualify as a “refugee,” and that Mulyani’s description of past experiences and articles recounting Christian persecution accompanying her application were insufficient to qualify her for asylum and withholding of removal. The Fourth Circuit also stated that Mulyani failed to offer any evidence that she was entitled to relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) because she failed to demonstrate that the Indonesian Government knows her identity or would harm her because of her Christian faith. Thus, Mulyani was not entitled to any relief.

Full Opinion

Alysja S. Garansi