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Rup Rizal was born and raised in Bhutan, but when his father resisted the govenment's policiy of "Bhutanization," his family was forced to leave the country. Fleeing to Nepal, they were not welcomed, and the Rizals lived in a refugee camp for years without official legal status. Rizal eventually obtained a Nepalese passport and moved to the U.S. to study, where he got a job, married, and had a son. When Rizal's employer sought to terminate his work visa, he applied for asylum, fearing a return to Bhutan because of the persecution of ethnic Nepalis and because he had no legal status there, and fearing persecution by refugees opposing ethnic Napalis.
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