In an asylum claim, what is a well-founded-fear of persecution?
With regard to the “well-founded fear of persecution ” standard applicable to asylum claims, the regulations state that an applicant meets the standard if he establishes that (a) the applicant has a fear of persecution in his country of nationality or last habitual residence on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion; (2) there is a reasonable possibility of actually suffering such persecution if he returns to that country; and (3) the applicant is unable or unwilling to return to or avail himself of the protection of that country because of such fear. The rules also provide that an alien need not prove that he will be singled out individually for persecution if he shows that there is a pattern or practice of persecution of groups or categories of person situated similarly to the applicant based on one of protected based.
An asylum application based on past persecution must demonstrate that persecution was actually suffered and that the reason for such persecution was one of the enumerated bases covered under the Immigration and Nationality Act. If the applicant is able to show past persecution based on one of the enumerated bases (e.g. political opinion or religious belief), the burden shifts to the government to show that conditions have changed so substantially that the applicant’s fear of persecution if he returns to his home country is no longer well founded.