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Prof. Jon Bauer writes: "On January 14, 2015, Judge Philip Verrillo of the Hartford, CT Immigration Court issued a written decision granting asylum to a Guatemalan man who was threatened with death, along with his family, by members of the Mara-18 gang because he had filed a complaint with the police after gang members brutally attacked him for refusing to accede to their extortion demands. (DHS did not appeal, and the decision became final in February.) The immigration judge held that the gang’s threats gave rise to a well-founded fear of persecution based on an imputed political opinion. The judge found that in the context of current conditions in Guatemala, where gangs exercise “effective control over large areas of Guatemalan territory” and have their own political agendas, “the gang likely perceived [the Respondent’s] refusal to comply with gang members’ demands as a politically charged rejection of gang authority in his community.” Thus, “Respondent has demonstrated that his imputed anti-gang political opinions will be at least one central reason gang members target him.” The Respondent was represented by the Asylum and Human Rights Clinic at the University of Connecticut School of Law, by law students Joshua Fay and Deven Sharma, supervised by Jon Bauer and Miriam Marton."
Jon Bauer, Clinical Professor of Law and Richard D. Tulisano '69 Scholar in Human Rights, Director, Asylum and Human Rights Clinic, University of Connecticut School of Law