The Ninth Circuit has reiterated that death threats alone will rise to the level of persecution in only a few cases in which the threats are sufficiently specific and menacing so as to cause significant actual suffering or harm. In this case, the petitioner received a threat over the phone, and another in person. The men who approached him were believed to be hitmen or “sicarios,” but the petitioner did not personally know if they had ever carried out threats against other officers for failing to cooperate as requested. The men took no actions of violence against the petitioner, his family or property beyond the threats. “On these facts, although it may have been possible for the IJ to conclude that the threats were sufficiently serious and credible to rise to the level of persecution, we cannot say the evidence compels the conclusion that [the petitioner] suffered past persecution.”

The full text of Duran-Rodriguez v. Barr can be found here: