Immigration Law

Asylum Victory in Hartford: Matter of R-G- (Death Threats from Gangs in Honduras, El Salvador)

Prof. Jon Bauer writes: "In a case handled by UConn Law School’s Asylum and Human Rights Clinic, a Hartford immigration judge granted asylum to R-G-, a young Salvadoran man who faced death threats from gangs in Honduras and El Salvador.  R-G- worked in Honduras as an evangelical minister.  His preaching converted an Olanchanos gang member and convinced him to quit the gang.  In retaliation, the gang murdered his fiancée.  After R-G- cooperated with a police investigation of the murder, he went back to El Salvador, where members of an allied gang ambushed and severely beat him.  Then, in Honduras, a gang member shot at R-G-, impelling him to flee to the U.S. In a written decision issued November 14, 2017, which became final a month later when DHS did not appeal, Immigration Judge Michael W. Straus granted asylum, finding that R-G- suffered past persecution and has a well-founded fear of future persecution based on an imputed political opinion.  The IJ found that R-G-‘s “actions of cooperating with the police and converting a gang member” led gang members to persecute him based on the “imputed political opinion of holding anti-gang beliefs.”  The court reasoned that gangs in the region “function as de facto governments,” and view those who cooperate with the authorities or preach against the gang lifestyle as holding anti-gang views that render them enemies in the gangs’ political struggle for control. R-G- was represented by UConn law students Igers Vangjeli ’17 and John Conway ’18, supervised by clinical professor Jon Bauer."