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CA4 on Nexus, Religious Persecution: Chicas-Machado v. Garland

July 13, 2023 (1 min read)

Chicas-Machado v. Garland

"In sum, the BIA erred in finding that Chicas-Machado was not a refugee under the INA due to a lack of nexus to a protected ground, religion. Chicas-Machado demonstrated past persecution on account of religion, and is therefore entitled to the presumption of a well-founded fear of future persecution. See Qiao Hua Li, 405 F.3d at 176-77. Recognizing the BIA’s error, we grant the petition for review and remand the case for further proceedings. Upon remand, the BIA must determine whether the Government can rebut the presumption of a well-founded fear of future persecution. 8 If the BIA concludes that Chicas-Machado is eligible for asylum on remand, it should reconsider her withholding of removal claim. See Sorto-Guzman, 42 F.4th at 450. We decline to reach all other issues raised on appeal as to her asylum and withholding of removal claims, and direct the BIA to reevaluate those claims following its reconsideration of Chicas-Machado’s asylum application. See Arita-Deras v. Wilkinson, 990 F.3d 350, 361 n.10 (4th Cir. 2021) (declining to reach the merits of withholding of removal appeal after finding error in the BIA’s asylum analysis)."

[Hats off to Daniel Thomann!  Listen to the oral argument here.]