Unpublished Disposition, 919 F.2d 144 (9th Cir. 1990)

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US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 919 F.2d 144 (9th Cir. 1990)

No. 88-7518.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Before CHAMBERS and BEEZER, Circuit Judges, and KLEINFELD,*  District Judge.


Aguilar-Revelo petitions for review of the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (the Board) denying his request for asylum or withholding of deportation. We affirm.

Aguilar-Revelo is a 28-year-old native of El Salvador who entered the United States without inspection in 1983. In El Salvador, Aguilar-Revelo was a member of an anti-government group called the ERP. His assignment in the ERP was to conduct acts of sabotage, such as burning empty buses and bombing small, unspecified objects. He testified that he participated in fifty such attacks but no people were ever killed.

While in El Salvador, Aguilar-Revelo became fearful of both governmental and non-governmental forces. At one point, a white hand appeared on the door of his mother's house. This symbol was a known death threat and may have been directed at Aguilar-Revelo or his half-brother, who was a member of another anti-government group. Sometime after the white hand appeared, Aguilar-Revelo fled the country. He arrived in the United States in spring, 1983.

Aguilar concedes deportability. He now seeks asylum under 8 U.S.C. § 1158(a) or withholding of deportation under 8 U.S.C. § 1253(h) on grounds of political opinion. The Board, reviewing the record de novo, held that Aguilar-Revelo was not entitled to asylum as a matter of law because his ERP activities were not "political" but hostile or criminal acts against his government.1  We review de novo the question of the Board's application of the correct legal standard. Rodriguez-Rivera v. INS, 848 F.2d 998, 1001 (9th Cir. 1988).

To establish a claim for either asylum or withholding, an alien must show that the feared threat is related to one of the factors enumerated in the statute, such as political opinion. Maldonado-Cruz v. INS, 883 F.2d 788, 791 (9th Cir. 1989). Fear of persecution on account of criminal activity will not satisfy the requirements of the statute, Hernandez-Ortiz v. INS, 777 F.2d 509, 516 (9th Cir. 1985), nor will fear of persecution on account of acts of terrorism against civilians. McMullen v. INS, 788 F.2d 591, 595 (9th Cir. 1986).

We agree with the Board that Aguilar-Revelo is not entitled to relief. He fears that if he returns to El Salvador, action will be taken against him because of his ERP activities. Guerrilla groups of El Salvador are "political" entities. See Maldonado-Cruz, 883 F.2d at 791. But when an "individual or group has engaged in ... criminal activity or other conduct that would provide a legitimate basis for governmental action," we will no longer consider a government's reactions politically motivated. Hernandez-Ortiz, 777 F.2d at 516. Aguilar-Revelo has, according to his own testimony, committed acts which we consider to be "serious and nonpolitical" crimes, for which refugee status is not available even if politically motivated. McMullen, 788 F.2d at 597.

The decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals is AFFIRMED.


The Honorable Andrew J. Kleinfeld, United States District Judge for the District of Alaska, sitting by designation


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


We agree with Aguilar-Revelo that the Board made no finding on the issue of credibility. We therefore presume, for the purposes of this opinion, that his testimony was credible. Maldonado-Cruz v INS, 883 F.2d 788, 792 (9th Cir. 1989)