RELIF FROM REMOVAL

Table of Contents

ASYLUM, WITHHOLDING OF REMOVAL and the CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE. 1

I.......... THE CONTEXT. 1

II........ ASYLUM.. 1

A.          Burden of Proof 1

B.          Defining Persecution. 1

1.           Cumulative Effect of Harms. 1

2.           No Subjective Intent to Harm Required. 1

3.           Forms of Persecution. 1

a.           Physical Violence. 1

(i)          Physical Violence Sufficient to Constitute Persecution  1

(ii)         Physical Violence Insufficient to Constitute Persecution  1

b.           Torture. 1

c.            Threats 1

(i)          Cases Holding Threats Establish Persecution. 1

(ii)         Cases Holding Threats Not Persecution. 1

d.           Detention. 1

e.            Mental, Emotional, and Psychological Harm.. 1

f.            Substantial Economic Deprivation. 1

g.           Discrimination and Harassment 1

4.           Age of the Victim.. 1

C.          Source or Agent of Persecution. 1

1.           Harm Inflicted by Relatives. 1

2.           Reporting of Persecution Not Always Required. 1

3.           Cases Discussing Source or Agent of Persecution. 1

D.          Past Persecution. 1

1.           Presumption of a Well-Founded Fear 1

2.           Rebutting the Presumption of a Well-Founded Fear 1

a.           Fundamental Change in Circumstances. 1

b.           Government’s Burden. 1

(i)          State Department Report 1

(ii)         Administrative Notice of Changed Country Conditions 1

c.            Cases where Changed Circumstances or Conditions Insufficient to Rebut Presumption of Well-Founded Fear 1

d.           Internal Relocation. 1

3.           Humanitarian Asylum.. 1

a.           Severe Past Persecution. 1

(i)          Compelling Cases of Past Persecution for Humanitarian Asylum.. 1

(ii)         Insufficiently Severe Past Persecution for Humanitarian Asylum.. 1

b.           Fear of Other Serious Harm.. 1

E.          Well-Founded Fear of Persecution. 1

1.           Past Persecution Not Required. 1

2.           Subjective Prong. 1

3.           Objective Prong. 1

4.           Demonstrating a Well-Founded Fear 1

a.           Targeted for Persecution. 1

b.           Family Ties. 1

c.            Pattern and Practice of Persecution. 1

d.           Membership in Disfavored Group. 1

5.           Countrywide Persecution. 1

6.           Continued Presence of Applicant 1

7.           Continued Presence of Family. 1

8.           Possession of Passport or Travel Documents 1

9.           Safe Return to Country of Persecution. 1

10.        Cases Finding No Well-Founded Fear 1

F.           Nexus to the Five Statutorily Protected Grounds 1

1.           Proving a Nexus. 1

a.           Direct Evidence. 1

b.           Circumstantial Evidence. 1

2.           Mixed-Motive Cases 1

3.           Shared Identity Between Victim and Persecutor 1

4.           Civil Unrest and Motive. 1

5.           Resistance to Discriminatory Government Action. 1

6.           The Protected Grounds 1

a.           Race. 1

(i)          Cases Finding Racial or Ethnic Persecution. 1

(ii)         Cases Finding No Racial or Ethnic Persecution. 1

b.           Religion. 1

(i)          Cases Finding Religious Persecution. 1

(ii)         Cases Finding No Religious Persecution. 1

c.            Nationality. 1

d.           Membership in a Particular Social Group. 1

(i)          Types of Social Groups. 1

(A)       Family and Clan. 1

(B)        Gender-Related Claims. 1

(1)         Gender Defined Social Group. 1

(2)         Gender-Specific Harm.. 1

(C)        Sexual Orientation. 1

(D)       Former Status or Occupation. 1

(ii)         Cases Denying Social Group Claims. 1

e.            Political Opinion. 1

(i)          Organizational Membership. 1

(ii)         Refusal to Support Organization. 1

(iii)       Labor Union Membership and Activities. 1

(iv)       Opposition to Government Corruption. 1

(v)         Neutrality. 1

(vi)       Other Expressions of Political Opinion. 1

(vii)     Imputed Political Opinion. 1

(A)       Family Association. 1

(B)        No Evidence of Legitimate Prosecutorial Purpose  1

(C)        Government Employees. 1

(D)       Other Cases Discussing Imputed Political Opinion  1

(viii)    Opposition to Coercive Population Control Policies. 1

(A)       Forced Abortion. 1

(B)        Forced Sterilization. 1

(C)        Other Resistance to a Coercive Population Control Policy. 1

(D)       Family Members. 1

f.            Prosecution. 1

(i)          Pretextual Prosecution. 1

(ii)         Illegal Departure Laws. 1

g.           Military and Conscription Issues 1

(i)          Conscription Generally Not Persecution. 1

(ii)         Exceptions 1

(A)       Disproportionately Severe Punishment 1

(B)        Inhuman Conduct 1

(C)        Moral or Religious Grounds 1

(iii)       Participation in Coup. 1

(iv)       Military Informers 1

(v)         Military or Law Enforcement Membership. 1

(A)       Current Status 1

(B)        Former Status 1

(vi)       Non-Governmental Conscription. 1

h.           Cases Concluding No Nexus to a Protected Ground. 1

G.          Exercise of Discretion. 1

H.          Remanding Under INS v. Ventura. 1

I.            Derivative Asylees. 1

J.            Bars to Asylum.. 1

1.           One-Year Bar 1

a.           Exceptions to the Deadline. 1

2.           Previous Denial Bar 1

3.           Safe Third Country Bar 1

4.           Firm Resettlement Bar 1

5.           Persecution of Others Bar 1

6.           Particularly Serious Crime Bar 1

7.           Serious Non-Political Crime Bar 1

8.           Security Bar 1

9.           Terrorist Bar 1

III....... WITHHOLDING OF REMOVAL OR DEPORTATION.. 1

A.          Eligibility for Withholding. 1

1.           Higher Burden of Proof 1

2.           Mandatory Relief 1

3.           Nature of Relief 1

4.           Past Persecution. 1

5.           Future Persecution. 1

6.           No Time Limit 1

7.           Firm Resettlement Not a Bar 1

8.           Entitled to Withholding. 1

9.           Not Entitled to Withholding. 1

10.        No Derivative Withholding of Removal 1

B.          Bars to Withholding. 1

1.           Nazis. 1

2.           Persecution-of-Others Bar 1

3.           Particularly Serious Crime Bar 1

4.           Serious Non-Political Crime Bar 1

5.           Security and Terrorist Bar 1

IV...... CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE (“CAT”) 1

A.          Standard of Review.. 1

B.          Definition of Torture. 1

C.          Burden of Proof 1

D.          Country Conditions Evidence. 1

E.          Past Torture. 1

F.           Internal Relocation. 1

G.          Differences Between CAT Protection and Asylum and Withholding. 1

H.          Agent or Source of Torture. 1

I.            Mandatory Relief 1

J.            Nature of Relief 1

K.          Derivative Torture Claims. 1

L.           Exhaustion. 1

M.         Habeas Jurisdiction. 1

N.          Cases Granting CAT Protection. 1

O.          Cases Finding No Eligibility for CAT Protection. 1

V........ CREDIBILITY DETERMINATIONS. 1

A.          Standard of Review.. 1

B.          Opportunity to Explain. 1

C.          Credibility Factors. 1

1.           Demeanor 1

2.           Responsiveness 1

3.           Specificity and Detail 1

4.           Inconsistencies. 1

a.           Minor Inconsistencies. 1

b.           Substantial Inconsistencies. 1

c.            Mistranslation/Miscommunication. 1

5.           Omissions 1

6.           Incomplete Asylum Application. 1

7.           Sexual Abuse or Assault 1

8.           Airport Interviews 1

9.           Asylum Interview/Assessment to Refer 1

10.        Bond Hearing. 1

11.        State Department and other Government Reports 1

12.        Speculation and Conjecture. 1

13.        Implausible Testimony. 1

14.        Counterfeit and Unauthenticated Documents 1

15.        Misrepresentations 1

16.        Classified Information. 1

17.        Failure to Seek Asylum Elsewhere. 1

18.        Cumulative Effect of Adverse Credibility Grounds 1

19.        Voluntary Return to Country. 1

D.          Presumption of Credibility. 1

E.          Implied Credibility Findings. 1

1.           Immigration Judges. 1

2.           Board of Immigration Appeals. 1

F.           Sua Sponte Credibility Determinations and Notice. 1

G.          Discretionary Decisions 1

H.          Remedy. 1

I.            Applicability of Asylum Credibility Finding to the Denial of other Forms of Relief 1

J.            Cases Reversing Negative Credibility Findings. 1

K.          Cases Upholding Negative Credibility Findings. 1

L.           The REAL ID Act Codification of Credibility Standards 1

M.         Frivolous Applications. 1

VI...... CORROBORATIVE EVIDENCE. 1

A.          Pre-REAL ID Act Standards 1

1.           Credible Testimony. 1

2.           Credibility Assumed. 1

3.           No Explicit Adverse Credibility Finding. 1

4.           Negative Credibility Finding. 1

a.           Non-Duplicative Corroborative Evidence. 1

b.           Availability of Corroborative Evidence. 1

c.            Opportunity to Explain. 1

B.          Post-REAL ID Act Standards 1

C.          Judicially Noticeable Facts 1

D.          Forms of Evidence. 1

E.          Hearsay Evidence. 1

F.           Country Conditions Evidence. 1

G.          Certification of Records. 1

CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL, SUSPENSION OF DEPORTATION, FORMER SECTION 212(c) RELIEF. 1

I.......... OVERVIEW.. 1

A.          Continued Eligibility for Pre-IIRIRA Relief Under the Transitional Rules  1

II........ JUDICIAL REVIEW... 1

A.          Limitations on Judicial Review of Discretionary Decisions. 1

B.          Limitations on Judicial Review Based on Criminal Offenses. 1

III....... CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b. 1

A.          Cancellation for Lawful Permanent Residents, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(a) (INA § 240A(a)) 1

1.           Eligibility Requirements 1

2.           Termination of Continuous Residence. 1

a.           Termination Based on Service of NTA.. 1

b.           Termination Based on Commission of Specified Offense. 1

c.            Military Service. 1

3.           Aggravated Felons 1

4.           Exercise of Discretion. 1

B.          Cancellation for Non-Permanent Residents, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b) (INA § 240A(b)(1)) 1

1.           Eligibility Requirements 1

2.           Ten Years of Continuous Physical Presence. 1

a.           Standard of Review.. 1

b.           Start Date for Calculating Physical Presence. 1

c.            Termination of Continuous Physical Presence. 1

(i)          Termination Based on Service of NTA.. 1

(ii)         Termination Based on Commission of Specified Offense  1

d.           Departure from the United States. 1

e.            Proof 1

f.            Military Service. 1

3.           Good Moral Character 1

a.           Jurisdiction. 1

b.           Standard of Review.. 1

c.            Time Period Required. 1

d.           Per Se Exclusion Categories. 1

(i)          Habitual Drunkards. 1

(ii)         Certain Aliens Described in 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a) (Inadmissible Aliens) 1

(A)       Prostitution and Commercialized Vice. 1

(B)        Alien Smugglers. 1

(C)        Certain Aliens Previously Removed. 1

(D)       Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude. 1

(E)        Controlled Substance Violations. 1

(F)        Multiple Criminal Offenses. 1

(G)       Controlled Substance Traffickers. 1

(iii)       Gamblers. 1

(iv)       False Testimony. 1

(v)         Confinement 1

(vi)       Aggravated Felonies. 1

(vii)     Nazi Persecutors, Torturers, Violators of Religious Freedom   1

(viii)    False Claim of Citizenship and Voting. 1

(ix)       Adulterers. 1

4.           Criminal Bars 1

5.           Exceptional and Extremely Unusual Hardship. 1

a.           Jurisdiction. 1

b.           Qualifying Relative. 1

c.            Alternative Means to Immigrate. 1

6.           Exercise of Discretion. 1

7.           Dependents 1

C.          Ineligibility for Cancellation. 1

1.           Certain Crewmen and Exchange Visitors. 1

2.           Security Grounds 1

3.           Persecutors 1

4.           Previous Grants of Relief 1

D.          Constitutional and Legal Challenges to the Availability of Cancellation of Removal or Suspension of Deportation. 1

E.          Ten-Year Bars to Cancellation. 1

1.           Failure to Appear 1

2.           Failure to Depart 1

F.           Numerical Cap on Grants of Cancellation and Adjustment of Status 1

G.          NACARA Special Rule Cancellation. 1

1.           NACARA Does Not Violate Equal Protection. 1

2.           NACARA Deadlines 1

3.           Judicial Review.. 1

H.          Abused Spouse or Child Provision. 1

IV...... SUSPENSION OF DEPORTATION, 8 U.S.C. § 1254 (repealed) (INA § 244) 1

A.          Eligibility Requirements 1

1.           Continuous Physical Presence. 1

a.           Jurisdiction. 1

b.           Standard of Review.. 1

c.            Proof 1

d.           Departures: 90/180 Day Rule. 1

e.            Brief, Casual, and Innocent Departures 1

f.            Deportation. 1

g.           IIRIRA Stop-Time Rule. 1

h.           Pre-IIRIRA Rule on Physical Presence. 1

i.             NACARA Exception to the Stop-Time Rule. 1

j.             Barahona-Gomez v. Ashcroft Exception to the Stop-Time Rule  1

k.           Repapering. 1

2.           Good Moral Character 1

a.           Jurisdiction. 1

b.           Time Period Required. 1

c.            Per Se Exclusion Categories. 1

3.           Extreme Hardship Requirement 1

a.           Jurisdiction. 1

b.           Qualifying Individual 1

c.            Extreme Hardship Factors 1

d.           Current Evidence of Hardship. 1

4.           Ultimate Discretionary Determination. 1

B.          Abused Spouses and Children Provision. 1

C.          Ineligibility for Suspension. 1

1.           Certain Crewmen and Exchange Visitors. 1

2.           Participants in Nazi Persecutions or Genocide. 1

3.           Aliens in Exclusion Proceedings 1

D.          Five-Year Bars to Suspension. 1

1.           Failure to Appear 1

2.           Failure to Depart 1

E.          Retroactive Elimination of Suspension of Deportation. 1

V........ SECTION 212(c) RELIEF, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(c) (repealed), Waiver of Excludability or Deportability. 1

A.          Overview.. 1

B.          Eligibility Requirements 1

1.           Seven Years. 1

2.           Balance of Equities. 1

C.          Deportation: Comparable Ground of Exclusion. 1

D.          Removal: Comparable Ground of Inadmissibility. 1

E.          Ineligibility for Relief 1

F.           Statutory Changes to Former Section 212(c) Relief 1

1.           IMMACT 90. 1

a.           Continued Eligibility for Relief 1

2.           AEDPA.. 1

a.           Continued Eligibility for Relief 1

3.           IIRIRA.. 1

a.           Retroactive Elimination of § 212(c) Relief 1

b.           Continued Eligibility for Relief 1

(i)          Plea Agreements Prior to AEDPA and IIRIRA.. 1

(ii)         No Longer Necessary to show Reasonable Reliance on Pre-IIRIRA Application for Relief 1

(iii)       Similarly Situated Aliens Treated Differently. 1

c.            Ineligibility for Relief 1

(i)          Plea Agreements after IIRIRA.. 1

(ii)         Plea Agreements after AEDPA.. 1

(iii)       Convictions After Trial 1

(iv)       Pre-IIRIRA Criminal Conduct 1

(v)         Terrorist Activity. 1

G.          Expanded Definition of Aggravated Felony. 1

VI...... SECTION 212(H) RELIEF, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(H), WAIVER OF INADMISSIBILITY   1

VII..... INNOCENT, CASUAL, AND BRIEF DEPARTURES UNDER FLEUTI DOCTRINE  1

ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS. 1

I.......... OVERVIEW.. 1

A.          Eligibility for Permanent Residence. 1

1.           Visa Petition. 1

2.           Priority Date. 1

3.           Admissibility. 1

B.          ELIGIBILITY FOR ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS PROCESS. 1

1.           Exceptions to Lawful Entry and Lawful Status Requirements. 1

a.           Exception for Immediate Relatives. 1

b.           Aliens Eligible For 8 U.S.C. § 1255(i) (“245(i)”) 1

c.            Unlawful Employment Exception. 1

2.           Discretion. 1

C.          Adjustment of Status Application Pending. 1

D.          Adjustment of Status Application Approved. 1


RELIEF FROM REMOVAL

ASYLUM, WITHHOLDING OF REMOVAL and the CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE

I.       THE CONTEXT

          The heart of United States asylum law is the protection of refugees fleeing persecution.  This court has recognized that independent judicial review is critical in this “area where administrative decisions can mean the difference between freedom and oppression and, quite possibly, life and death.”  Rodriguez-Roman v. INS, 98 F.3d 416, 432 (9th Cir. 1996) (Kozinski, J. concurring).

          Under 8 U.S.C. § 1158(b)(1), the Attorney General may grant asylum to any applicant who qualifies as a “refugee.”  The Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) defines a “refugee” as

any person who is outside any country of such person’s nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, is outside any country in which such person last habitually resided, and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca, 480 U.S. 421, 428 (1987) (quoting 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42)(A)); see also 8 C.F.R. § 1208.13; Parada v. Sessions, 902 F.3d 901, 909 (9th Cir. 2018) (“To be eligible for asylum, Quiroz Parada must establish that he is a refugee—namely, that he is unable or unwilling to return to El Salvador because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); Guo v. Sessions, 897 F.3d 1208, 1213 (9th Cir. 2018) (to qualify for asylum, a petitioner must show he is a refugee); Ming Dai v. Sessions, 884 F.3d 858, 866 (9th Cir. 2018) (“Asylum is available to refugees—that is, anyone who is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of [his or her native] country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” (internal quotation marks and citation omitted)); Bringas-Rodriguez v. Sessions, 850 F.3d 1051, 1062 (9th Cir. 2017) (en banc) (“An applicant qualifies as a refugee if he is unable or unwilling to return to his home country because of a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” (internal quotation marks and citation omitted)); Ling Huang v. Holder, 744 F.3d 1149, 1152 (9th Cir. 2014) (“To qualify for asylum, an applicant must show that she is a ‘refugee,’ defined as one who ‘is unable or unwilling to return to [her home country] ... because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.’”); Rusak v. Holder, 734 F.3d 894, 896 (9th Cir. 2013); Mendoza-Pablo v. Holder, 667 F.3d 1308, 1312–13 (9th Cir. 2012); Zetino v. Holder, 622 F.3d 1007, 1015 (9th Cir. 2010); Baghdasaryan v. Holder, 592 F.3d 1018, 1023 (9th Cir. 2010) (quoting 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42)(A)). An applicant may apply for asylum if she is “physically present in the United States” or at the border.  8 U.S.C. § 1158(a)(1).  Individuals seeking protection from outside the United States may apply for refugee status under 8 U.S.C. § 1157.

          “The applicant may qualify as a refugee either because he or she has suffered past persecution or because he or she has a well-founded fear of future persecution.”  8 C.F.R. § 1208.13(b).  More specifically,

the applicant can show past persecution on account of a protected ground.  Once past persecution is demonstrated, then fear of future persecution is presumed, and the burden shifts to the government to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that there has been a fundamental change in circumstances such that the applicant no longer has a well-founded fear of persecution, or [t]he applicant could avoid future persecution by relocating to another part of the applicant’s country.  An applicant may also qualify for asylum by actually showing a well-founded fear of future persecution, again on account of a protected ground.

Deloso v. Ashcroft, 393 F.3d 858, 863–64 (9th Cir. 2005) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted); see also Bringas-Rodriguez, 850 F.3d at 1062; Mendoza-Pablo, 667 F.3d at 1313; Hanna v. Keisler, 506 F.3d 933, 937 (9th Cir. 2007).

          In enacting the Refugee Act of 1980, “one of Congress’ primary purposes was to bring United States refugee law into conformance with the 1967 United Nations Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.” Cardoza-Fonseca, 480 U.S. at 436–37.  When interpreting the definition of “refugee,” the courts are guided by the analysis set forth in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status, U.N. Doc. HCR/IP/4/Eng./REV.2 (ed. 1992) (1979) (“UNHCR Handbook”).  Id. at 438–39; see also INS v. Aguirre-Aguirre, 526 U.S. 415, 427 (1999) (recognizing the UNHCR Handbook as “a useful interpretative aid” that is “not binding on the Attorney General, the BIA, or United States courts”); Miguel-Miguel v. Gonzales, 500 F.3d 941, 949 (9th Cir. 2007) (“We view the UNHCR Handbook as persuasive authority in interpreting the scope of refugee status under domestic asylum law.” (internal quotation marks and citation omitted)).

II.      ASYLUM

A.      Burden of Proof

          An applicant bears the burden of establishing that he or she is eligible for asylum.  8 C.F.R. § 208.13(a); see also Ling Huang v. Holder, 744 F.3d 1149, 1152 (9th Cir. 2014) (“To qualify for asylum, an applicant must show that she is a ‘refugee,’ defined as one who ‘is unable or unwilling to return to [her home country] ... because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.’”); Ali v. Holder, 637 F.3d 1025, 1029 (9th Cir. 2011) (petitioner bears the burden of establishing his eligibility for asylum); Halim v. Holder, 590 F.3d 971, 975 (9th Cir. 2009); Zhu v. Mukasey, 537 F.3d 1034, 1038 (9th Cir. 2008) (alien bears burden of establishing eligibility for asylum); Rendon v. Mukasey, 520 F.3d 967, 973 (9th Cir. 2008) (“As an applicant for … asylum, [petitioner] bears the burden of proving that he is eligible for the discretionary relief he is seeking.”).  Section 101(a)(3) of the REAL ID Act, Pub. L. 109-13, 119 Stat. 231, codified this standard.  See 8 U.S.C. § 1158(b)(1)(B)(i) (as amended and applicable to all applications filed on or after May 11, 2005).

          “An applicant alleging past persecution has the burden of establishing that (1) his treatment rises to the level of persecution; (2) the persecution was on account of one or more protected grounds; and (3) the persecution was committed by the government, or by forces that the government was unable or unwilling to control.”  Baghdasaryan v. Holder, 592 F.3d 1018, 1023 (9th Cir. 2010); see also Guo v. Sessions, 897 F.3d 1208, 1213 (9th Cir. 2018); Ming Dai v. Sessions, 884 F.3d 858, 867 (9th Cir. 2018); Bringas-Rodriguez v. Sessions, 850 F.3d 1051, 1062 (9th Cir. 2017) (en banc); Reyes v. Lynch, 842 F.3d 1125, 1132 n.3 (9th Cir. 2016) (“An asylum or withholding applicant’s burden includes (1) ‘demonstrating the existence of a cognizable particular social group,’ (2) ‘his membership in that particular social group,’ and (3) ‘a risk of persecution on account of his membership in the specified particular social group.’ The third element is often referred to as the “nexus” requirement.”), cert. denied, 138 S. Ct. 736 (2018); Madrigal v. Holder, 716 F.3d 499, 503 (9th Cir. 2013); Henriquez-Rivas v. Holder, 707 F.3d 1081, 1083 (9th Cir. 2013); Afriyie v. Holder, 613 F.3d 924, 934 (9th Cir. 2010) (concluding record compelled conclusion that Ghanaian police were unable or unwilling to protect petitioner).

          “If a noncitizen establishes past persecution, ‘a rebuttable presumption of a well-founded fear arises, and the burden shifts to the government to demonstrate that there has been a fundamental change in circumstances such that the applicant no longer has a well-founded fear.’”  Ming Dai, 884 F.3d at 867 (quoting Tawadrus v. Ashcroft, 364 F.3d 1099, 1103 (9th Cir. 2004)); see also Guo, 897 F.3d at 1213.

          Under the standards established by [the REAL ID] Act, an applicant’s testimony alone is sufficient to establish eligibility for asylum if it satisfies three requirements: the ‘testimony is credible, is persuasive, and refers to specific facts sufficient to demonstrate that the applicant is a refugee.’”  Ming Dai, 884 F.3d at 867 (quoting 8 U.S.C. § 1158(b)(1)(B)(ii)).  If, however, the applicant’s credible testimony alone is not sufficiently persuasive, ‘the IJ must give the applicant notice of the corroboration that is required and an opportunity either to produce the requisite corroborative evidence or to explain why that evidence is not reasonably available.’”  Ming Dai, 884 F.3d at 867 (quoting Ren v. Holder, 648 F.3d 1079, 1093 (9th Cir. 2011) (applying REAL ID Act)).

          Although proof of the applicant’s identity is an element of an asylum claim, see Farah v. Ashcroft, 348 F.3d 1153, 1156 (9th Cir. 2003) (citing identity as a “key” element of asylum application), the applicant is not required to “to provide information so that the Attorney General and Secretary of State [can] carry out their statutory responsibilities” under 8 U.S.C. § 1158(d)(5)(A), see