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Tairou v. Whitaker

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

November 30, 2018

MOCKTAR A. TAIROU, Petitioner,
v.
MATTHEW G. WHITAKER, Acting Attorney General, Respondent.

          Argued: September 27, 2018

          On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals.

         ARGUED:

          John Franklin Hester, Jr., MCCOPPIN & ASSOCIATES, PA, Cary, North Carolina, for Petitioner.

          Jane Tracey Schaffner, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Respondent.

         ON BRIEF:

          Richard Andrew McCoppin, MCCOPPIN & ASSOCIATES, P.A., Cary, North Carolina, for Petitioner.

          Chad 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.

          Before 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.

         Mocktar 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 persecution.

         I.

         A.

         Tairou 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 ...


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