Reynaldo Salgado-Sosa v. Jefferson Sessions III

PUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 16-1594 REYNALDO SALGADO-SOSA, Petitioner, v. JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS III, Attorney General, Respondent. On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals. Argued: October 24, 2017 Decided: February 13, 2018 Before GREGORY, Chief Judge, and FLOYD and HARRIS, Circuit Judges. Petition for review granted in part, denied in part, and remanded for further proceedings by published opinion. Judge Harris wrote the opinion, in which Chief Judge Gregory and Judge Floyd joined. ARGUED: Alfred Lincoln Robertson, Jr., ROBERTSON LAW OFFICE, PLLC, Alexandria, Virginia, for Petitioner. Anthony W. Norwood, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Respondent. ON BRIEF: Benjamin C. Mizer, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Leslie McKay, Senior Litigation Counsel, Siu P. Wong, Trial Attorney, Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil Division, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Respondent. PAMELA HARRIS, Circuit Judge: Reynaldo Salgado-Sosa, a native and citizen of Honduras, seeks asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. If he is returned to Honduras, he fears, he will face persecution at the hands of the gang MS-13, which has repeatedly attacked his family for resisting extortion demands. The agency proceedings focused on whether Salgado-Sosa could show, for purposes of both his asylum and withholding of removal claims, a nexus between MS-13’s threats and membership in a cognizable “particular social group” – here, Salgado-Sosa’s family. The Board of Immigration Appeals found that Salgado-Sosa could not establish the requisite nexus, and denied withholding of removal on that ground. The Board separately found that Salgado-Sosa’s asylum application was untimely, and that there was insufficient evidence to justify protection under the Convention Against Torture. We conclude that the Board erred in holding that Salgado-Sosa did not meet the nexus requirement. The record compels the conclusion that at least one central reason for Salgado-Sosa’s persecution is membership in his family, a protected social group under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Accordingly, we vacate the denial of withholding of removal, and remand for further proceedings on that claim. On the asylum claim, we separately remand for consideration of whether our recent decision in Zambrano v. Sessions, 878 F.3d 84 (4th Cir. 2017), affects Salgado-Sosa’s argument that a statutory “changed circumstances” exception allows consideration of his untimely application. 2 I. In August 2005, Salgado-Sosa entered the United States without authorization and began living with his uncle in Sterling, Virginia. In September 2010, the Department of Homeland Security served him with a notice to appear, charging him as an alien who had not been admitted or paroled in violation of section 212(a)(6)(A)(i) of the INA. Salgado-Sosa conceded removability, but applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). At his removal hearing, Salgado-Sosa and his stepfather, Humberto Merez-Merlo, testified before the Immigration Judge (“IJ”) and submitted affidavits, an expert declaration, and other documentary evidence for the court’s consideration. We begin by summarizing the testimony and evidence and then outline the legal proceedings ...

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