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CA2 on Evidence: Santiaguez v. Garland

September 16, 2022 (1 min read)

Santiaguez v. Garland (unpub.)

"Santiaguez contends that the agency failed to appropriately weigh evidence demonstrating that he faced a risk of torture if he returned to Mexico due to his status as an indigenous gay man and advocate for transgender rights. In denying his petition for CAT relief, the agency acknowledged that Santiaguez is an indigenous gay man and LGBT activist and that there is widespread violence against members of the LGBT community throughout Mexico. Nonetheless, the agency concluded that Santiaguez failed to satisfy his burden for CAT relief because he did not establish a likelihood that Mexican authorities would either torture him directly or acquiesce to his torture by private actors. In reaching this conclusion, the agency erred in several respects[:] ... (1) its bald speculation that the official police response to a mass student kidnapping shows that police will respond to violence against LGBT individuals; (2) its unsupported conclusion that one police officer’s expression of sympathy shows that other police officers will not acquiesce in torture; and (3) its failure to consider material evidence of public officials’ violence against the LGBT and indigenous communities. See Manning, 954 F.3d at 486–87; see also Tian-Yong Chen, 359 F.3d at 128. Accordingly, we remand for the agency to fully evaluate the record evidence."

[Hats off to NOAH NIX, Student Counsel (Thomas V. Burch, Esq., Olivia B. Hunter, Student Counsel, Jared R. Allen, Student Counsel, on the brief), Appellate Litigation Clinic, University of Georgia School of Law, Athens, GA. Paige Austin, on the brief, Make the Road New York, Brooklyn, N.Y.!]