MOCKTAR A. TAIROU, Petitioner,
MATTHEW G. WHITAKER, Acting Attorney General, Respondent.
Argued: September 27, 2018
Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration
Franklin Hester, Jr., MCCOPPIN & ASSOCIATES, PA, Cary,
North Carolina, for Petitioner.
Tracey Schaffner, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
Washington, D.C., for Respondent.
Richard Andrew McCoppin, MCCOPPIN & ASSOCIATES, P.A.,
Cary, North Carolina, for Petitioner.
A. Readler, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Douglas E.
Ginsburg, Assistant Director, Katherine A. Smith, Office of
Immigration Litigation, Civil Division, UNITED STATES
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Respondent.
GREGORY, Chief Judge, MOTZ, Circuit Judge, and William L.
OSTEEN, Jr., United States District Judge for the Middle
District of North Carolina, sitting by designation.
GREGORY, Chief Judge.
Tairou ("Tairou") petitions this Court to review a
final removal order by the Board of Immigration Appeals
("BIA") denying his asylum and withholding of
removal application and ordering his removal to Benin. Tairou
contends that the BIA erred in finding that he was not
subjected to past persecution and that he lacked a
well-founded fear of persecution were he to return to Benin.
Our binding precedent explicitly holds that a threat of death
constitutes persecution. Because Tairou experienced multiple
death threats in Benin, we hold Tairou established that he
was subjected to past persecution. We therefore grant the
petition for review and remand to allow the BIA to consider
whether, in light of Tairou's demonstrated past
persecution, he has a well-founded fear of future
was born in Benin in 1977. Although Tairou is married to a
woman, he testified that in 2007, he developed affectionate
feelings for a man and "figured out [he] was a
homosexual." J.A. 73. In 2008, Tairou met a French man
named AY through a website.[*] The two men eventually
developed a romantic relationship. In 2009 and again in 2013,
AY came to visit Tairou in Cotonou, Benin, where Tairou
rented an apartment for AY. Tairou informed his wife and his
father about his relationship with AY, and they both accepted
it. After learning of the relationship, Tairou's wife
informed him that she in fact viewed herself as a ...