Unpublished Disposition, 911 F.2d 738 (9th Cir. 1989)

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U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 911 F.2d 738 (9th Cir. 1989)

Osanna Krikor KEVORKIAN, Diana Khachig Kevorkian, Petitioners,v.U.S. IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE, Respondent.

No. 89-70190.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Argued and Submitted June 8, 1990.Decided Aug. 20, 1990.

Before ALARCON, BRUNETTI and O'SCANNLAIN, Circuit Judges.


Petitioners Osanna Kevorkian and her daughter Diana Kevorkian ("Kevorkian") are citizens of Iraq. They came to the United States in 1982 with visitors' visas, and have remained here since then, overstaying their visas.1 

In a deportation proceeding before an immigration judge ("IJ"), Kevorkian conceded deportability, but applied for asylum.

In the proceedings before the IJ and BIA, Kevorkian claimed that she would be persecuted in Iraq because she is an Armenian Christian and because she is not a member of the ruling Baath party. Kevorkian submitted documentation establishing her religious affiliation. Kevorkian also testified that she was afraid to return to Iraq because she did not tell the authorities she was leaving the country, and she might be harmed because she came to the United States.

In Iraq, Kevorkian was able to obtain employment with the Iraqi Ministry of Culture. However, she testified that she was continually approached with requests to join the ruling Baath party, and that she never did. In her proceedings before the IJ and BIA, Kevorkian claimed that party membership is essential to obtain a job in Iraq.

Kevorkian also claimed she would not be able to find a job in Iraq because of her religious affiliation. In the IJ and BIA proceedings, she claimed that she had obtained her job only through a friend of her mother. She testified that an Armenian Christian seeking employment in Iraq has no chance if an Arab person is available for the position.

Kevorkian's mother, Osanna, testified that the government took over the Armenian schools and that Armenians are not allowed to attend church on Sunday. Osanna also testified that several gentlemen from the Iraq Security Office would visit her home in Iraq on a weekly basis to inquire as to the whereabouts of her two sons, who had traveled to the United States under student visas. When asked how often the security police came, Kevorkian's mother stated " [e]very week, one ... once to twice they come." When asked how long the police had been visiting her house, she stated " [t]en, twenty to thirty ... twenty to thirty times. Between twenty and thirty times, they have been every week ... every week since [her two sons had left Iraq]." Kevorkian's mother testified that the police "didn't harm" her, but that the frequent visits scared her. The security police questioned Kevorkian as to why her brothers did not perform their military service obligations. The men did not harm Kevorkian or her mother in any way. Kevorkian secured passports and exit permits from the government, apparently without difficulty.

On September 11, 1984, the IJ denied Kevorkian eligibility for asylum and, treating her asylum application as a simultaneous request for withholding of deportation, also denied withholding of deportation. The IJ granted Kevorkian's request for voluntary departure. On March 29, 1989, the BIA dismissed Kevorkian's appeal.

Kevorkian petitions for review of the BIA order on the ground that she demonstrated a well-founded fear of persecution with the facts regarding the regular visits from the Iraqi security police. Kevorkian has not raised any issues regarding the BIA's treatment of her claim of persecution of Armenian Christians in the form of preventing them from attending church on Sundays and taking over their religious schools. Kevorkian also does not raise any issues regarding the alleged discrimination in employment. Kevorkian also has not appealed the denial of withholding of deportation. Thus, we will not address these issues.

To obtain eligibility for asylum, Kevorkian must show that she has 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). There is both an objective component and a subjective component to the statutory test for "well founded fear of persecution." "The subjective component requires that the fear be genuine, while 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) (citations omitted). We review the BIA's decision to determine whether substantial evidence supported the denial of eligibility for asylum. Artega v. INS, 836 F.2d 1227, 1231 (9th Cir. 1988).

Kevorkian's argument on appeal that the frequent visits by the security police support a well-founded fear of persecution is without merit. Even if the visits constituted persecution, Kevorkian has not shown that the visits were "on account of" any of the grounds enumerated in the statute. The police only questioned Kevorkian regarding the whereabouts of her brothers and their failure to perform their military service obligations. Thus, the BIA properly concluded that Kevorkian was not eligible for asylum.

Furthermore, there is no evidence that the security police persecuted Kevorkian for any reason. The IJ found that there were twenty or thirty visits between 1980 and 1982.2  However, during these visits, the security police did not threaten or harm Kevorkian in any way. Kevorkian has not shown any facts that demonstrate a reasonable basis for her to fear persecution from the security police or anyone else, and therefore has failed to satisfy the objective prong of the statutory test. Thus, the BIA properly dismissed Kevorkian's appeal.



This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by Circuit Rule 36-3


Osanna Kevorkian was denied asylum in the IJ and BIA proceedings. She was originally a party to this appeal. However, Osanna's case was reopened and she has now obtained permanent residency. On May 29, 1990, Osanna filed a motion to dismiss her appeal, which we hereby grant. This appeal now concerns only Diana Kervokian


One of Osanna Kevorkian's statements is ambiguous, and could be interpreted as indicating that the police visited her house between twenty and thirty times per week, rather than twenty or thirty times in total. However, earlier in her testimony, Kevorkian clearly stated that the police visited her house once or twice per week. Reading Osanna's ambiguous statement in the context of her entire testimony, the IJ's finding is supported by substantial evidence