United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Immigration – asylum – Albania — social group
Young women who fear being sexually trafficked is not a recognizable social group enabling an alien to claim persecution.
“Members of a social group, however, must share a common immutable or fundamental characteristic beyond the risk, past or present, of harm. See Escobar v. Holder, 657 F.3d 537, 545-46 (7th Cir. 2011); In re Kasinga, 21 I. & N. Dec. 357, 365-66 (BIA 1996). Thus, even if members of Cece’s proposed group fear forced prostitution, a social group ‘cannot be defined merely by the fact of persecution’ or ‘the shared characteristic of facing danger.’ Jonaitiene v. Holder, 660 F.3d 267, 271 (7th Cir. 2011) (concluding that government informants fearing retaliation do not form social group). And young Albanian women who fear being trafficked for prostitution have ‘little or nothing in common beyond being targets.’ Gatimi v. Holder, 578 F.3d 611, 616 (7th Cir. 2009). The Sixth Circuit rejected a nearly identical social group of Albanian women because its members did not share a narrowing characteristic other than the risk of being forced into prostitution. Rreshpja v. Gonzales, 420 F.3d 551, 555-56 (6th Cir. 2005). And although we have recognized that women who fear female genital mutilation constitute a social group, Cece has not presented evidence that sex trafficking poses the same particularized and inescapable threat to all young Albanian women. See Agbor v. Gonzales, 487 F.3d 499, 502 (7th Cir. 2007); Hassan v. Gonzales, 484 F.3d 513, 518 (8th Cir. 2007). Nor has she demonstrated that trafficking is ‘deeply imbedded’ in Albanian culture. See Mohammed v. Gonzales, 400 F.3d 785, 797-98 (9th Cir. 2005); see also Sarhan v. Holder, 658 F.3d 649 (7th Cir. 2011) (recognizing women facing honor killings as social group); see Safaie v. INS, 25 F.3d 636, 640 (8th Cir. 1994), superseded by statute on other grounds, Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104- 208, 110 Stat. 3009 (concluding that Iranian women subject to harsh restrictions do not form social group).”
Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals, Manion, J.