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CA6 on Nexus, Social Group: Vasquez-Rivera v. Garland

March 19, 2024 (1 min read)

Vasquez-Rivera v. Garland

"Here, the BIA attributed analysis to the IJ that the IJ never undertook. Finding that none of Vasquez-Rivera’s proposed social groups were cognizable, the IJ concluded that her asylum claims failed. With respect to Vasquez-Rivera’s family in particular, the IJ found that Vasquez-Rivera “did not establish that her family was or will be identified as a distinct group.” As a result, the IJ never resolved whether Vasquez-Rivera could prove a nexus between her membership in her family and her persecution. The only reference to the nexus requirement in the IJ’s opinion is with respect to a different particular social group—“Salvadoran women and girls whose parents live outside the country.” There, the IJ found that “even if this [were] a cognizable group, there is no nexus” between Vasquez-Rivera’s claim and this group. But the IJ made no similar finding regarding the family-as-a-particular-social-group claim. So the BIA’s conclusions as to the nexus required to prove asylum for this social group lack support in the record and constitute improper de novo factfinding. See 8 C.F.R. § 1003.1(d)(3)(i). ... [W]e remand to the BIA to apply circuit nexus precedent to Vasquez-Rivera’s asylum claim and claim for withholding of removal based on her membership in her family."

[Hats off to Paul Ben Sion Grotas!]