New BIA Decision Requiring Aggregate Analysis of Past Persecution in Asylum Claim by Matthew Hoppock (Hoppock Law Firm)
The Board said all the way back in 1966 that long and pervasive discrimination can amount to persecution. Matter of Salama, 11 I&N Dec. 536 (BIA 1966) (recognizing discrimination against Jews in Egypt as persecution). Matter of Salama was one of the first BIA decisions construing the phrase “persecution on account of race, religion, or political opinion” in the Immigration and Nationality Act. What today’s decision confirms is that the Board’s analysis in Salama, that “a government campaign of discrimination” may be persecution, remains true.

I wrote a detailed analysis of a 1966 Board of Immigration Appeals decision in Matter of Salama, 11 I&N Dec. 536 (BIA 1966). In that post, I worked through the decision and examined the small number of citations to it in precedent decisions. I opined that although I first came across the decision while researching economic persecution precedents, its analysis is too limited to provide much value in that area of asylum law. The Hoppock Law Firm’s description of Salama as holding that “long and pervasive discrimination can amount to persecution” is over the target. However, as I explained in my piece, the limited analysis makes it difficult to discern an easy-to-apply broader principle in Salama.

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