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CA5 on Particular Social Group: Jaco v. Garland

October 27, 2021 (1 min read)

Jaco v. Garland

"Jaco’s petition makes two arguments. First, that the BIA erred in failing to either consider or remand for consideration of additional proposed “particular social groups” that Jaco raised for the first time on appeal. And second, that the BIA erred in concluding that Jaco’s proposed group—Honduran women who are unable to leave their domestic relationships—is not a “particular social group” within the meaning of 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42)(A) (claims for asylum) and 8 U.S.C. § 1231(b)(3)(A) (claims for withholding of removal). ... In holding that Jaco’s proposed group is not cognizable, we do not hold that women who have suffered from domestic violence are categorically precluded from membership in a particular social group. We hold only that a particular social group’s immutable characteristics must make the group sufficiently particularized and socially distinct without reference to the very persecution from which its members flee. ... We DENY Jaco’s petition for review. The BIA did not abuse its discretion in concluding that Jaco’s particular social group was not cognizable, and substantial evidence supported its conclusion."

[Editor's Note: This was a pro se case.  Given the stakes, CA5 should have appointed counsel.  I hope pro bono counsel will step forward to petition for rehearing and/or en banc review.]