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Antonio v. Barr

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

May 19, 2020, Decided; May 19, 2020, Filed

File Name: 20a0156p.06

No. 18-3500


 [**2]  OPINION

JULIA SMITH GIBBONS, Circuit Judge. Maria Magdalena Juan Antonio,1 a native and citizen of Guatemala, appeals from the Board of Immigration Appeals' (the "Board") denial of her application for asylum and withholding of removal. In its denial, the Board found that Maria articulated a cognizable particular social group and that the harm she suffered rose to the level of past persecution. It then concluded, however, that the government effectively rebutted her well-founded fear of future persecution by showing changed circumstances: that she was no longer part of her articulated social group and that she could reasonably relocate within Guatemala. On appeal, Maria argues that the Board's [*2]  conclusion was not supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole. We agree with Maria. Therefore, we grant the petition for review, vacate the Board's decision, and remand for reconsideration consistent with this opinion.

Maria is a 33-year-old native and citizen of Guatemala. She was born in Aldea Village in Quetzal Huehuetenango. She is a member of a Mayan indigenous group in Guatemala. Her native language is Kanjobal and she wears clothing distinct to Mayans. She never attended school and cannot read or write. Maria currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she works at a hotel.

Maria is married to Juan Cano Lorenzo, who is also Mayan and currently resides in Guatemala. They have been married for eighteen years. They have four children together—the older two were born in Guatemala and the younger two were born in the United States. Their children, Sophia, Huberto, Maura, and Maria Floridalma, are ages seven, twelve, sixteen, and eighteen, respectively. Huberto is autistic and cannot speak. Sophia and Huberto reside with Maria in Nashville.

 [**3]  Maria's application for asylum and withholding of removal stems from domestic violence suffered at the hands of her husband. [*3]  This abuse arose within the broader context of systemic violence, harassment, and subordination of indigenous Mayan women in Guatemala. The larger societal context will be discussed below.

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2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 15984 *; 2020 FED App. 0156P (6th Cir.) **

MARIA MAGDALENA JUAN ANTONIO, Petitioner, v. WILLIAM P. BARR, Attorney General, Respondent.

Prior History:  [*1] On Petition for Review from the Board of Immigration Appeals. No. A 206 468 574.


asylum, persecution, indigenous, Immigration, social group, removal, violence, kill, relocate, withholding, humanitarian, substantial evidence, married, circumstances, restraining order, perpetrators, unwilling, beat, immigration judge, well-founded, articulated, divorce, argues, woman, rape, native, fine, reconsider, eligible, custody

Immigration Law, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, De Novo Standard of Review, Deportation & Removal, Judicial Review, Judicial Proceedings, Scope of Review, Substantial Evidence, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Allocation, Asylum, Refugees & Related Relief, Asylum, Eligibility for Asylum, Refugee Status, Eligibility for Refugee Status, Administrative Proceedings, Evidence, Burden of Respondent, Burden of Government, Administrative Law, Remand & Remittitur, Administrative Appeals, US Board of Immigration Appeals, Inferences & Presumptions, Presumptions, Particular Presumptions, Rebuttal of Presumptions, Preponderance of Evidence, Burden Shifting, Restriction on Removal, Eligibility Requirements, Abuse of Discretion