Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Bare v. Barr (9th Cir. - Sept. 16, 2020)

Today's Ninth Circuit opinion mentions that the petitioner, Ibrahim Farhab Bare, stowed away on a ship and came to the United States from Somalia, at which point he was granted asylum.  During subsequent years, he committed various crimes, and the government now seeks to deport him.

You see various opinions with similar facts.  Nothing special there.

But the opinion also notes that in 2009, "Bare and his [common-law] wife moved to Whippoorwill, Arizona, a small community deep in the Navajo Nation."  Hmmm.  I had never heard of that place.  I wondered where it was.

So I tried to locate it on a map.  Which was definitely not easy.  Mr. Google didn't help much.  It took ten minutes of diligent searching to find the place.

It's definitely a desolate place.  Nothing around for miles and miles and miles.

Though there are apparently around 1500 people who live in this "Chapter" (the Navajo equivalent of a town or county).  All but 6 of whom are Native American, and half of whom are under 21 years of age.

That's a young community.  Very young.  The median age in the United States is around 38.  A median age of 21 means either that parents in that community have a lot of children, that life expectancy in that area is very low, or that people leave the place shortly upon reaching adulthood.  Or several the of above.

The opinion describes Bare's presence in Whippoorwill this way:  "Bare began operating an unlicensed pawnshop out of his home, where he also sold alcohol and drugs. His pawnshop dealt in firearms as well, which is how he came into possession of the firearms he was convicted of possessing. Not surprisingly, Bare’s business attracted trouble for this quiet, rural community. There was an influx of vandalism, crime, violence, and unsavory characters."

I couldn't help but wonder if that's an outsider's description of what transpired.  It's a stereotypical story of an unspoiled rural community that's radically disrupted by the arrival of someone from outside the area -- in this case, a person from Somalia.  Whether that's an accurate depiction of what happened -- the resulting "influx of vandalism, crime, violence, and unsavory characters" into "this quiet, rural community" -- is obviously something that's beyond my knowledge.  But one wonders if that's an idealized vision of reality.

Anyway:  Whippoorwill, Arizona.  Deep, deep in the heart of the Arizona desert.