(CN) – A “secularized and westernized” Pakistani couple can’t stay in the United States based on their alleged fear of persecution in Pakistan for their pro-American views, the 1st Circuit ruled.
The federal appeals court in Boston said the couple’s status as “secularized and westernized Pakistanis perceived to be affiliated with the United States” was too vague a social group to qualify for U.S. protection.
“Whether a person is ‘secularized’ or ‘westernized’ is neither readily apparent nor susceptible to determination through objective means,” Chief Judge Sandra Lynch wrote. “Given the vagueness of the proffered definition, an objective observer cannot readily gauge who is and who is not a member of the group.”
Usman Ahmed came to the United States in 1997 on a student visa. Two years later, he briefly returned to Pakistan, where he married Afsheen Iqbal Butt.
When Ahmed got a job in the private sector, he lost his student visa status. The couple overstayed their visas and had four children in the United States.
They claimed they would be targeted by Islamic fundamentalists based on their pro-American views.
Butt added that she would face additional persecution based on her gender. She claimed she might be the victim of an “honor killing” and would be burdened by cultural expectations.
She allegedly feared that her husband, Ahmed, would turn abusive due to societal pressures – a “self-serving conjecture,” according to the 1st Circuit.
Citing her testimony that Ahmed is a good man, the court refused to credit Butt’s claim “that a return to Pakistan will transmogrify Ahmed from a model husband into a wife-beating brute.”
“Let us be perfectly clear,” Lynch wrote for the three-judge panel. “Political instability, cultural divisions, and sporadic violence may make life in any nation uncomfortable, stressful, or even dangerous. Still, the presence of such conditions, detached from the particulars of an alien’s individualized situation, is not enough to compel relief from removal.”