788 F.2d 591 (9th Cir. 1986), 84-7468, McMullen v. I.N.S.

Docket Nº:84-7468.
Citation:788 F.2d 591
Party Name:Peter Gabriel John McMULLEN, Petitioner, v. IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE, Respondent.
Case Date:April 25, 1986
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Page 591

788 F.2d 591 (9th Cir. 1986)

Peter Gabriel John McMULLEN, Petitioner,



No. 84-7468.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

April 25, 1986

Argued and Submitted June 11, 1985.

Page 592

Bill Ong Hing, Nancy Howard, Lynn Sonfield, Terry J. Hellbrush, Simmons & Ungar, San Francisco, Cal., for petitioner.

Daniel E. Fromstein, Joan E. Smiley, Washington, D.C., for respondent.

Petition for Review of a Decision of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Before GOODWIN and WALLACE, Circuit Judges, and STEPHENS, [*] District Judge.

WALLACE, Circuit Judge:

McMullen petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' (BIA) order finding him ineligible for asylum or withholding of deportation under 8 U.S.C. Secs. 1101(a)(42)(A), 1253(h)(1), and 1253(h)(2)(C). We have jurisdiction under 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1105a, and we deny the petition.


The underlying facts of this dispute were related in McMullen v. INS, 658 F.2d 1312, 1314-15 (9th Cir.1981) (McMullen I ). We will discuss only the particular facts relevant to this appeal.

In January 1972, McMullen deserted the British Army and joined the Provisional Irish Republican Army (the PIRA), an offshoot of the paramilitary Irish Republican Army. He participated in a bombing by

Page 593

the PIRA of the Palace Barracks, where he had been stationed. The object of the bombing was to prevent a planned British Army confrontation with Catholic demonstrators, which ultimately took place on what became known as Bloody Sunday. McMullen participated actively in the PIRA from 1972 to 1974, including involvement with another bombing at Claro Barracks, Ripon, North Yorkshire, in 1974. In September 1974, he formally resigned from the PIRA because he, as he stated, felt that the group had become extremist, employed too much terrorist violence and did not represent the Irish populace. On November 23, 1974, the Republic of Ireland police (Garda) arrested McMullen. The government charged him with membership in the PIRA, sedition (incitement to riot), and possession of a gun. After conviction on these charges, he was imprisoned for three years at Portalaise Prison. McMullen was held in the "maverick wing" of the prison, which housed "nonaligned" prisoners, who were segregated from PIRA-member prisoners.

In March 1977, the government released McMullen from Portalaise. He was approached by a PIRA member, who requested him to assist the PIRA, and McMullen refused. After several instances of PIRA intimidation, McMullen again began to participate in PIRA activities. He housed PIRA members in his home on occasion, trained PIRA members, and coordinated illegal arms shipments from the United States to Northern Ireland for use by PIRA terrorists. In 1978, the PIRA ordered McMullen to plan and execute the kidnapping for ransom of a New York bar owner, Daniel Flannigan. He refused to obey this order. Shortly thereafter, a PIRA "court of inquiry" reviewed this refusal. A friend of McMullen's, who he described as a prominent member of the PIRA, visited him ten days later and warned him that "there was a hit squad being set up" to murder him and "that the safest thing was to get away."

Early in 1978, McMullen procured a false visa using the name of Kevin O'Shaughnessy, and fled to the United States. He contacted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, hoping to obtain asylum in exchange for knowledge about PIRA activities. He cooperated with the Bureau and with Scotland Yard investigators in the United States.

In July of 1978, the United Kingdom sought McMullen's extradition to face criminal charges stemming from the 1974 Claro Barracks bombing in England. His deportation was held in abeyance during the extradition proceedings. On May 11, 1979, a United States magistrate in San Francisco ruled that McMullen could not be extradited to England because of the provisions of the Extradition Treaty then in force between the United States and the United Kingdom.

At his subsequent deportation hearing, McMullen testified that the PIRA was aware of his cooperation with the authorities in the United States and that he was considered a traitor who should be killed. In support of his position, he submitted over 100 pages of exhibits documenting PIRA terrorist activities.

The Immigration Judge (IJ) found that McMullen was not deportable because "the Government of the Republic of Ireland is unable to control the activities of the PIRA and if [he] were to be returned to that country he would suffer persecution within the meaning of the [United Nations] Convention Protocol and Section 243(h) of 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1253(h)." The IJ also held that McMullen was not a security risk to the United States and that deportation should be withheld.

On October 1, 1980, the BIA reversed the IJ, finding that McMullen had not shown a sufficient likelihood that he would suffer persecution upon deportation. On appeal, we reversed, finding that McMullen had demonstrated an adequate showing of probable persecution to avoid deportation. See McMullen I, 658 F.2d at 1317-19. We did not decide whether McMullen's break from the PIRA constituted a political belief within the meaning of section 243(h) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, 8

Page 594

U.S.C. Sec. 1253(h) (the Act), whether McMullen represented a danger to the United States, or whether McMullen would be persecuted by the Garda. Id. at 1319 & n. 6.

In light of the outcome of the appeal to this court, the parties agreed to the BIA's reconsideration of its October 1, 1980, decision. See 8 C.F.R. Sec. 3.2 (1985). The BIA again sustained its reversal of the IJ's determination that McMullen should not be deported. The BIA found that McMullen's claimed persecution was not based on political opinion or on any other enumerated ground for relief in 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1253(h)(1). 1

The BIA also found that McMullen was statutorily ineligible for asylum as a refugee under section 101(a)(42)(A), 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1101(a)(42)(A), which excludes from refugee status "any person who ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion." See also 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1253(h)(2)(A) (withholding of deportation unavailable to any alien who fits these categories). This decision was based upon McMullen's active membership and leadership, including his training of terrorists and gun-running, by which he knowingly furthered PIRA's campaign of terrorist atrocities. The BIA also found McMullen statutorily ineligible for withholding of deportation under 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1253(h)(2)(C) based on the same activities. Finally, the BIA determined it would deny asylum as a matter of its discretion.


We first consider whether the BIA's finding that McMullen was ineligible for withholding of deportation under section 243(h)(2)(C) on the basis of "serious reasons for considering that [McMullen] has committed a serious nonpolitical crime" is supported by substantial evidence. If so, we will not need to address the other issues presented to us.


Congress added subsection (h) to section 243 of the Act as part of the Refugee Act of 1980, Pub.L. No. 96-212, Sec. 203(e), 94 Stat. 107. The legislative history on this particular aspect of the Refugee Act is sparse, and is particularly sparse with respect to subsection (h)(2). The Senate Report speaks only of this subsection as a "conforming amendment" to the Act, and to the extent it describes the operation of the subsection, it mentions only the mandatory withholding of deportation provision of subsection (h)(1). See S.Rep. No. 256, 96th Cong., 1st Sess. 17, reprinted in 1980 U.S.Code Cong. & Ad.News 141, 157. The conferees, however, were somewhat more explicit. They observed that the House amendment contained the four exceptions in subsection (h)(2), and that "[t]he Conference substitute adopts the House provision with the understanding that it is based directly upon the language of the Protocol and it is intended that the provision be construed consistent with the Protocol." Conf.Rep. No. 781, 96th Cong., 2d Sess. 20, reprinted in 1980 U.S.Code Cong. & Ad.News 160, 161. The Protocol to which the conferees referred is the Protocol Relating

Page 595

to the Status of Refugees, 606 U.N.T.S. 267 (1967) (Protocol), which incorporates by reference the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 189 U.N.T.S. 150 (1951) (Convention). The United States acceded to the Protocol in 1968. See Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, 19 U.S.T. 6223, T.I.A.S. No. 6577 (1968).

Since the only clear signal that can be gleaned from the legislative history is that Congress intended the nonpolitical crimes exception to withholding of deportation to be consistent with the Convention and Protocol, we must look first to those documents for guidance. The Protocol itself does not add any new substantive provisions to the Convention with regard to this issue. See Protocol, 19 U.S.T. at 6225-29. The Convention excludes from its protections

[A]ny person with respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that:

(a) he has committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity ...;

(b) he has committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of refuge prior to his admission to that country as a refugee;

(c) he has been guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Convention, art. 1(F)(a)-(c), 19 U.S.T. at 6263-64. Thus, under the Convention, such persons are not considered refugees, and are subject to deportation, or "refoulement." See G. Goodwin-Gill, The Refugee in International Law 58-65 (1983).

Under this standard, a "serious non-political crime" is a crime that was not committed out of "genuine political motives," was not directed...

To continue reading