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CA4 on Social Group, El Salvador: Hernandez-Avalos v. Lynch

May 01, 2015 (1 min read)

"Maydai Hernandez-Avalos, a native and citizen of El Salvador, petitions for review of a final order of removal entered by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). For the reasons that follow, we grant Hernandez’s petition for review, vacate the BIA’s order, and remand for further proceedings. ...

The BIA concluded that the threats to kill Hernandez unless she allowed her son to join the gang were not made on account of Hernandez’s membership in her nuclear family. It reasoned that “[s]he was not threatened because of her relationship to her son (i.e. family), but rather because she would not consent to her son engaging in a criminal activity.” A.R. 4. The government argues that the BIA did not err in concluding that gang recruitment was the central motivation for these threats. Further, it argues that the fact that the person blocking the gang members’ recruitment effort was their membership target’s mother was merely incidental to the recruitment aim. We believe that this is an excessively narrow reading of the requirement that persecution be undertaken “on account of membership in a nuclear family.” Hernandez’s relationship to her son is why she, and not another person, was threatened with death if she did not allow him to join Mara 18, and the gang members’ demands leveraged her maternal authority to control her son’s activities. The BIA’s conclusion that these threats were directed at her not because she is his mother but because she exercises control over her son’s activities draws a meaningless distinction under these facts. It is therefore unreasonable to assert that the fact that Hernandez is her son’s mother is not at least one central reason for her persecution." - Hernandez-Avalos v. Lynch, Apr. 30, 2015.  [Hats way off to Tamara Jezic!]