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Immigration Law

CA9 on Circularity, Matter of A-B-, Guatemala, Social Group: Diaz-Reynozo v. Barr

Diaz-Reynoso v. Barr

"Sontos Maudilia Diaz-Reynoso, a native and citizen of Guatemala, petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA) order dismissing her appeal of an Immigration Judge’s (IJ) order denying her application for withholding of removal and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Diaz-Reynoso seeks withholding of removal based on her fear that she would be persecuted in Guatemala on account of her membership in the particular social group of “indigenous women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship.” Diaz-Reynoso argues she is entitled to relief under CAT because, if returned to Guatemala, the Guatemalan government would acquiesce in torture she would suffer at the hands of her husband. On her withholding claim, the BIA concluded that DiazReynoso’s proposed particular social group was not cognizable, relying on the Attorney General’s decision in Matter of A-B-, 27 I. & N. Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018). With respect to Diaz-Reynoso’s CAT claim, the BIA concluded that Diaz-Reynoso failed to establish that the government of Guatemala would acquiesce in any torture she might suffer. Because the BIA’s decision on both bases for relief departs from its own precedent and is contrary to this court’s case law, we grant the petition for review and remand for further proceedings."

[Hats off to: Gary A. Watt, Stephen Tollafield, and Tiffany J. Gates, Supervising Counsel; Shandyn H. Pierce and Hilda Kajbaf, Certified Law Students; Hastings Appellate Project, San Francisco, California; for Petitioner; Blaine Bookey, Karen Musalo, Neela Chakravartula, and Anne Peterson, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, U.S. Hastings College of Law, San Francisco, California, for Amicus Curiae Center for Gender & Refugee Studies; Richard W. Mark, Amer S. Ahmed, Grace E. Hart, and Cassarah M. Chu, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, New York New York, for Amici Curiae Thirty-Nine Former Immigration Judges and Members of the Board of Immigration Appeals; Sabrineh Ardalan, Nancy Kelly, John Willshire Carrera, Deborah Anker, and Zachary A. Albun, Attorneys; Rosa Baum, Caya Simonsen, and Ana Sewell, Supervised Law Students; Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, Cambridge, Massachusetts; for Amicus Curiae Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program; and Ana C. Reyes and Alexander J. Kasner, Williams & Connolly LLP, Washington, D.C.; Alice Farmer, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Washington, D.C.; for Amicus Curiae United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees!]