USCRI: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Asylum Research

Street Children-Based Asylum Resources



H.013 (Street Children-Based Asylum)
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
On Review from US Department of Justice, Board of Immigration Appeals
Ruben Rodriguez-Lopez vs. Alberto R. Gonzalez
Petitioner's Opening Brief
Applications: Petition to remand case to BIA

  • Petitioner was abandoned by both his parents--by his father before his birth and by his mother at 3 months old.  He lived with his grandmother until age 6, when he began living on the streets of Honduras.  Respondent was a defenseless child target for abuse and violence by criminals, and the Honduran government and police did nothing to prevent such persecution against street children.  After being forced to smuggle the title of a stolen car into El Salvador and losing the title, the Respondent was threatened with death by a gangster and so he fled to the United States.  He sought asylum in Immigration Court as a "member of the 'particular social group' consisting of Honduran street children, but he was denied for an "adverse credibility determination" and consequently the BIA reversed the adverse credibility determination but denied asylum on the basis that "Honduran street children did not constitute a 'particular social group'".  Finally, "Ruben petitions this court for review and reversal of the BIA's determination that Honduran street children are not a social group, and asks this Court to remand this matter to the BIA, so the BIA can consider Ruben's claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture based on the proper legal standards."

H.008 (Domestic Violence, Gang-Based & Street Children-Based Asylum)
Edwin Jovani Enamorado
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Harlingen, Texas
Decision of the Immigration Judge Burkhart
November 22, 1999
Applications: Asylum; withholding of removal; voluntary departure

  • Respondent sought asylum as a member of two social groups: as a former MS gang member and as an abandoned Honduran street child.  As a member of these two social groups, Edwin claimed he would face persecution by MS gang members, society and the police. He also claims to have suffered past persecution by his foster parents as a member of the social group of abandoned street children with scant resources.
  • The Court found Edwin to be a credible witness with consistent testimony, substantial background documentation and visible scars to confirm his testimony.  Edwin does not fall under the category of street children, though, as he has alternative parental figures willing take him into their home if he returns.  Thus the Court refused asylum based on what happened in his abusive foster parents’ household.  However, the Court agreed that Edwin does fall under the category of former MS gang member, and that this affiliation would provoke suppression or infliction of harm if he returned to Honduras. The Court held that members of the MS gang view  “individuals who are former gang members, as having characteristics that warrants suppression or the infliction of harm.”  As a minor, the Court also agreed that Edwin would have difficulty relocating in his own country.  The Court thus ruled that a reasonable person in Edwin’s position would fear persecution. 

H.007 (Street Children-Based Asylum)
Dennis Reyes-Diaz
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Los Angeles, California
Order and Decision of the Immigration Judge Muñoz
September 4, 2001
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, Voluntary Departure, Convention Against Torture (CAT)

  • The Court found that the “evidence and testimony of record support the reasonable possibility that Respondent would fact persecution on account of his status as a homeless Honduran street child.”  Respondent faced persecution at the hands of society, the police and gangs. 

H.005 (Street Children-Based Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Phoenix, Arizona
Decision of the Immigration Judge Richardson, REDACTED
Applications: Asylum; Withholding of Removal, Relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)

  • The Court found there was fear of persecution based on membership in a particular social group, abandoned street children.  Asylum granted based on the severity of the respondent’s past persecution and reasonable possibility of serious harm if he returned, at the hands of the police and gangs.  The Court held that the Respondent could not avoid persecution by relocating internally in Honduras. 

H.003 (Street Children-Based Asylum)
Eldin Jacobo Escobar v. Alberto Gonzalez
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Opinion, Weis
July 29, 2005

  • The Court determined that ‘Honduran Street Children’ did not constitute a particular social group because the three main characteristics of the group, poverty, homelessness and youth, are too general.  Escobar was repeatedly abused and harassed by gangs.


G.009 (Social Group Asylum)
"Oscar, Ramon, Jorge"
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Miami, Florida
Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, REDACTED
May 22, 2006
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal

  • Respondents are three young brothers from a remote Mayan village in the highlands of Guatemala.  The village was devastated by Hurricane Stan in 2005, and the government failed to respond with aid or to assist in rebuilding.  As a result, neighboring villages entered into land-wars and one of respondents, the oldest child, was forced to fight against his will.  Attorney successfully established that upon deportation, all children would similarly be forced to serve as soldiers or into homeless.  Respondents would also risk particular vulnerability to street gangs that target homeless youth.  As Mayans in predominately hispanic Guatemala, the Guatemalan government is unwilling or unable to protect respondents.  

"Oscar, Ramon, Jorge"
Exhibit List and Statement, REDACTED
June 30, 2006

  • Contains exhibits for the individual hearing, including photographs of hurricane damage, expert testimony, and children’s official documents from Guatemala. 

G.005 (Domestic Violence, Gang-Based & Street Children-Based Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Phoenix, Arizona
Decision of the Immigration Court, REDACTED
March 20, 2003

  • Asylum was granted to a 17-year-old female and her 18-month-old daughter as a matter of discretion. The court found that she was persecuted on account of membership in a particular social group.  The social group was first her nuclear family, when she was a victim of physical, psychological and sexual abuse by her parents. She then became a member of the social group of abandoned street children and babies.  The Court determined that Guatemalan government protection of victims of domestic violence and street children is ineffective.  The Department of State report on Guatemala establishes “a chilling pattern of persecution in Guatemala of abandoned street children.”  While living on the streets she joined the 18th Street gang.  When she became the target of a death threat she fled to the United States.  In addition, the Court gave her a humanitarian grant of asylum on account of the severity of her suffering. 

G.002 (Street Children-Based Asylum)
Aurelio Mauricio Lopez
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Phoenix, Arizona
Decision of the Immigration Judge
November 28, 2001

  • Asylum was granted based on fear of persecution on account of membership in the particular social group of Guatemalan street children.  He has no family or friends in Guatemala with whom he could live.  The respondent was denied voluntary departure to be reunited with his parents in Mexico because he did not meet the statutory requirements for alien voluntary departure. The court determined that the Guatemalan government does little to protect children from violence and crime.
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