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CA9 on Exhaustion, Social Group, CAT, El Salvador: Vasquez-Rodriguez v. Garland

August 05, 2021 (1 min read)

Vasquez-Rodriguez v. Garland

"We conclude that the approach set forth in Matter of E-A-G- [24 I. & N. Dec. 591 (B.I.A. 2008)] is inconsistent with the requisite fact-based analysis of proposed particular social groups. ... We do not suggest that this group [persons erroneously perceived to be gang members] would necessarily qualify. Instead, because the Board has not yet had an opportunity to decide the issue, we must leave it for the Board in the first instance. ... Remand will also allow the agency to reconsider whether Vasquez-Rodriguez is eligible for protection under the CAT. As it stands, the Board’s determination that he is ineligible for such relief is not supported by substantial evidence. ... The relocation finding is also impossible to reconcile with Vasquez-Rodriguez’s testimony, which the Board assumed to be credible. When Vasquez-Rodriguez was removed in 2013, the San Salvador police detained him at the airport and then turned him over to the San Vicente police. And as recently as 2018, the San Vicente police were searching for Vasquez-Rodriguez and vowed to find him once he is removed to El Salvador. The Board erred by “failing to mention [that] highly probative or potentially dispositive evidence.” Cole v. Holder, 659 F.3d 762, 772 (9th Cir. 2011). PETITION GRANTED; REMANDED."

[Hats off to Nienke Schouten!]