USCRI: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Gang-Related Asylum Resources

Immigration Judge Decisions/Briefs and Affidavits

El Salvador • Honduras • Guatemala Mexico


El Salvador

Brief in Support of Application for Asylum (Social Group & Gang-Based Political Asylum)
Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
Arlington, Virginia
(Redacted Date), 2011
Respondent: Female

  • Respondent, a Salvadorian female, seeks asylum based on past persecution and a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of her membership in the social group of Salvadoran young women who refuse to be victims of violent sexual predation by gang members and because of her anti-gang political opinions.

ES.019 (Social Group & Gang-Based Political Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review, Immigration Court
Arlington, Virginia
August 22, 2011
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and Relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)
Respondent: Female
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • Asylum was granted by Immigration Judge John M. Bryant on the basis that a victim of past persecution on account of identity as a family member of a Salvadoran police officer involved in anti-gang efforts may use "kinship ties" to demonstrate participation in a particular social group.

ES.018 (Social Group & Gang-Based Political Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review, Immigration Court
Baltimore, Maryland
May 2, 2011
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and Relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)
Respondent: Female, 34 years old.
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • Asylum was granted by Immigration Judge Phillip T. Williams on the basis that Salvadoran women who have been the victim of gang rape and violence constitute a particular social group satisfying a statutory ground for political asylum.

ES.020 (Social Group & Gang-Based Political Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review, Immigration Court
Arlington, Virginia
September 27, 2010
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and Relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)
Respondent: Male
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • Asylum was granted by Immigration Judge Lawtrence O. Burman on the basis that "male siblings of those murdered by gangs who resist active recruitment efforts by the same gang" constitute a particular social group for the purpsoes of 8 C.F.R. § 1208.13.

Matter of S, IJ Decision (Baltimore, MD, June 11, 2009)

  • Asylum was granted by Immigration Judge Phillip Williams in Baltimore, MD on June 11, 2009.  The Office of Chief Counsel waived the right to appeal.  The Respondent was targeted by MS-13 after his brother was murdered for refusing to join the gang.  The Immigration Judge found that the Respondent had been persecuted on account of his membership in a particular social group, his nuclear family.

Matter of S, Brief

Matter of M IJ Decision (Los Angeles, CA, January 14, 2009)

  • Asylum was granted by Immigration Judge Mimi Tsankov on January 14, 2009.  An appeal is currently pending with the Board of Immigration Appeals.  The Immigration Judge found that the young female twins from El Salvador are members of their small family group that has been targeted for gang violence and activity in El Salvador.

ES.017 (Gang Based Asylum, Religious Persecution)
Executive Office for Immigration Review, Immigration Court
Newark, New Jersey
May 13, 2008
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and Relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)
Respondent: Female, 16 years old.
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • Respondent did not claim she was subjected to past persecution. Rather, respondent was granted asylum because she is an Evangelical Christian and would be persecuted on account of her religion because gang members are opposed to the religion's principles that preach a duty to engage in lawful conduct.

ES.016 (Social Group & Gang Based Political Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review, Immigration Court
San Francisco, California
April 23, 2007
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and Relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)
Respondent: 17 year-old male
ASYLUM DENIED

  • The court found that a social group may be defined as those refusing to join a gang based on youth and membership in a church that requires its members refuse to join a gang. However, it failed to find that this social group is cognizable because respondent failed to identify any other members of this group and that he was not persecuted on account of his membership in this alleged group. The court also found that the respondent's unwillingness to become a gang member was not a political opinion.

ES.015 (Political Opinion & Social Group Gang Based Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review, Immigration Court
Boston, Massachusetts
November 26, 2007
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and Relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)
Respondent: Female, Mother of two children
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • Respondent's cousin was stabbed to death by gang (MS-13) members. Respondent's father stated at the funeral that the gangs would pay for justice and that he would report them to the police. Respondent's life was threatened and she was beaten by gang members. The Court found that the death threat and beating were because of the political opinion of her father imputed to her or alternatively because of he membership in a particular social group of her family.

ES.014 (Social Group Gang Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review, Immigration Court
Arlington, Virginia
July 17, 2007
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and Relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)
Respondent: 30 year-old married male.
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • Respondent is a member of a social group consisting of family members of those who actively oppose gangs in El Salvador by agreeing to be prosecutorial witnesses without compensation.  

ES.013 (Political Opinion & Social Group-Based Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review, Immigration Court
Arlington, Virginia, May 3, 2007
Order of the Immigration Judge, Redacted
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and Relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)
Respondents: 21-year-old single male and 15-year-old single female
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • The Court granted asylum to both respondents based on a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of (1) membership of a particular social group of young Salvadorian students who expressly oppose gang values and wish to protect their family against such practices and (2) political opinion, as a person/sibling of a person who openly opposes the practices and values of MS-13 in El Salvador. The respondents fled from El Salvador due to threats and violence by El Salvador’s largest and most notorious gang, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). The court finds no reasonable internal relocation possible and therefore grants both respondents’ application for asylum.

ES.012 (Political Opinion & Social Group-Based Asylum)
Juan  Alvarez
Executive Office of Immigration Review
Arlington, VA
Memorandum of Law in Support of Asylum Application of Juan Alvarez
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • Respondent is a member of the social group of current and former Salvadoran law enforcement officers and holds a pro-rule of law anti-gang political opinion.  As a protection officer with National Civilian Police Respondent was persecuted and targeted by the Maras 18 gang.  The government's under trained, understaffed and under-funded police are unable to protect him. 

ES.012B
Redacted Expert Affidavit in Support of Asylum application. 

  • Expert asserts that "gangs have become so powerful that some police officers do not interfere with the maras' criminal activities."  "As a response to government policies, the gangs have recruited more members and have become significantly more violent and organized."

ES.012C
Expert Affidavit from Connie McGuire, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA). 

  • She stated that the Mano Dura policies have exacerbated El Salvador's gang problem and that  the Chief of the Salvadoran National Civilian Police expressed that the police are understaffed and under resourced. 

ES.012D
Redacted Affidavit in Support of Asylum Application.   Explains origin of gangs, and typical mara tactics of persecution and intimidation.
 
ES.011 (Political Opinion & Social Group Gang-Based Asylum)
Executive Office of Immigration Review
Harlingen, Texas
Brief in Support of Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal
January 27, 2003
Respondent: 17 year-old

  • Respondent, a Salvadorian youth, seeks asylum based on past persecution and well-founded fear of future persecution based on account of his political opinion that "gangs are destructive and that their activities are wrong," and membership in a particular social group consisting of "person who fit the profile of potential gang members, who have opposed recruitment efforts to join the gang, and who have actively and repeatedly resisted gang membership and/or have had a negative political opinion regarding gangs imputed to them." 

ES.010 (Gang-Based Asylum)
"J.J.R."
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Chicago, Illinois
Memorandum of Law and Facts, REDACTED
May 5, 2000
Applications: Asylum and/or Withholding of Deportation
Respondent: 19-year-old male
ASYLUM GRANTED ON RELIGIOUS GROUNDS

  • Respondent was a known member of the Mara Salvatrucha gang.  He fears persecution by the Sombra Negra, an extra-judicial death squad that targets young criminals. Respondent claims that he is the member of the social group of Salvadoran street gang members.  At age 16, respondent wanted to leave the gang, but could not for fear of reprisals.  Respondent argues that his former gang membership is a characteristic that he cannot alter. Further, Respondent argues fear of persecution at the hands of the Sombra Negra death squad and his the Mara Salvatrucha gang, both groups that the Salvadoran government is unable or unwilling to control.

ES.010A (Gang-Based Asylum)
"JJRM"
Executive Office of Immigration Review
Chicago, Illinois
Expert Affidavit of JJRM, REDACTED
In Support of Applications: Asylum and/or Withholding of Removal

  • Luis Rodriguez is an expert on Los Angeles gang culture in El Salvador.  His affidavit explains the history and practices of the Mara Salvatrucha gang.  He outlines the “stages of gang life,” from an initiation period, to a “beating-in“, to tattooing.  Luis Rodriguez indicates that if Respondent were to return to El Salvador, he would have to rejoin the gang to preserve his life.  Paramilitary death squads target young people with tattoos, regardless of whether or not they are gang members.

ES.008 (Gang-Based Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Arlington, Virginia
Pre-Hearing Brief in Support of XXX
August 25, 2003
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, Relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)
Respondent: Seventeen-year-old male

  • Respondent claims to be a member of the social group of young people that have been actively recruited by the MS gang but refused to join because of opposition to the criminal activities of the gang.  He was actively recruited by the MS (Mara Salvatrucha) gang and fears persecution if he returns to El Salvador. The brief shows that gangs are pervasive in El Salvador and the government is unable to control them. The brief also contends that the respondent faced persecution because of his political opinion and imputed political opinion that young people should be allowed to remain true to their religious beliefs and not be forcibly recruited to commit illegal or immoral acts.

ES.007 (Gang-Based Asylum)
Executive Office of Immigration Review
Harlingen, Texas
Transcription of Immigration Proceedings, REDACTED
Judge Burkhart
December 11, 2002
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • Transcription records of immigration proceedings in which the respondent claimed to have suffered persecution based on his membership in the social group of potential gang members who opposed recruitment and have a negative political opinion of gangs. The Court found that he was indeed eligible for asylum based on membership in a particular social group and political opinion concluding that Respondent is “a member of a recognizable group, and member of the MS have been known to persecute that particular group because of their characteristics . . . the only way [Respondent] would be able to change said characteristics would be to actually join the MS, which this Court does not believe he should be forced to do.

ES.006 (Gang-Based Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Chicago, Illinois
Trial Memorandum, REDACTED
March 12, 2004
Applications:  Asylum, Withholding of Removal, Relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)
Respondent: 20-year-old male

  • Respondent claims to be a member of the social group of former member of the Mara-18 gang. He fears persecution for refusing to participate in the gang.  He did not want to kill anyone.  He also fears persecution and torture by the police because of his former gang membership, age and looks.  The brief points out that the El Salvadoran’s government’s October 2003 Anti-Gang legislation, part of the Plan Mano Dura to target members of gangs, has been criticized by human rights organizations.

ES.006A (Gang-Based Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Chicago, Illinois
Index of Supporting Documents, REDACTED

  • Documents include Identification cards, Affidavits of Respondent’s brother, a Clinical Therapist, ESL instructor, and Case Managers, Newspaper articles and country reports.

ES.005 (Gang-Based Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Arlington, Virginia
Response to Department of Homeland Security’s Brief, REDACTED
March 1, 2004
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, Relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)

  • The response brief addresses the issue of whether El Salvadoran youth actively recruited by the MS gang constitutes a particular social group.  Respondent argues that children who have been recruited by the MS gang and have refused to join on the basis of their fundamental beliefs forms a social group.   Also claims that the respondent is eligible for asylum based on his political opinion which I his opposition to the MS gang.

ES.003 (Gang-Based Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Arlington, Virginia
Decision and Order, REDACTED July 22, 2004
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, Relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)
Respondent: 20-year-old male
ASYLUM DENIED, Applicant ordered removed

  • Respondent claimed that he was a victim of persecution in El Salvador because of his religion, political opinion and membership in a particular social group. The social group was “refusal to join MS gang because of his moral and religious opposition to the gang’s criminal activities.” The MS gang recruited and threatened him, but he kept the situation a secret from his family because felt that they could not help him.  The Court found that the respondent failed to present evidence that the MS gang was a political organization, targeting him for his political or religious beliefs.“A guerilla organization’s coercive efforts to recruit an individual to fill its ranks do not constitute persecution unless that applicant can demonstrate that ‘the guerillas will persecute him because of that political opinion, rather than because of his refusal to fight with them.” INS v. Elias-Zacarias, 502 U.S. at 482-83.  The Court found the MS gang to be analogous to a guerilla group.


ES.002 (Domestic Violence & Gang-Based Asylum)
“Juan Perez”
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Office of the Immigration Judge
Baltimore, Maryland
Redacted Brief in Support of Applications for Asylum and Withholding of Removal
Respondent: 17-year-old male

  • The respondent’s asylum application is based on his membership in two separate social groups, his own nuclear family and “people who refuse to join the gangs on account of their political opinion.”  Respondent claims that he fears persecution by both his abusive father and the MS gang.  Respondent contends that the MS gang is a political organization that imputed a political opinion to the respondent.  In the past, both his father and the gang have severely beaten him and threatened him with more physical attacks.  The brief shows that the government is both unable and unwilling to protect him.

ES.002A (Domestic Violence & Gang-Based Asylum)
“Juan Perez”
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Office of the Immigration Judge
Baltimore, Maryland
Country Conditions Documentation

  • This index includes comprehensive information about current conditions in El Salvador.  The reports and articles address the issues of both child abuse and gang violence, clearly illustrating the seriousness of the situation.

ES.002B (Domestic Violence & Gang-Based Asylum)
“Juan Perez”
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Office of the Immigration Judge
Baltimore, Maryland
Affidavit

  • Affidavit of respondent who fled his country from persecution by both his father and the MS gang.

 

Honduras

Matter of __, IJ Decision (Arlington, VA, August 4, 2009)
Asylum was granted by Immigration Judge Hladylowycz in Arlington, Virginia. 

  • The Judge found that the case of the 18 year old Salvadoran male respondent, who had resisted gang recruitment, was distinguishable from Matter of S-E-G- and Matter of E-A-G-.  The Judge found that his social group, forced participation in gang activities in a "peripheral manner," was distinct and particular.

H.019 (Gang-Based Asylum Religious Opinion)
"Bill"
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Immigration Court, Arlington, Virginia
March 20, 2008
Order of the Immigration Judge
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • 17 year old male grew up in small fishing village. Around 2004 the MS gang came to that village and tried to recruit child and his friends to join the gang. The gang members targeted the child because his young age made him less likely for the police to suspect, his slight build made it possible for him to fit into small places, and he was a member of the church that the MS said was "worthless" and "trash". He was held at gunpoint and shot at by gang members. The gang members repeatedly threatened his life and harassed him on a daily basis for a period of two years. Moreover, his friend and uncle were murdered by the gang. The child refused to join the gang because his religious convictions and membership in the Pentecostal Church prevented him from joining a gang and doing bad things. The court held that the child's "religious convictions were 'at least one central reason' why the MS gang members targeted him in Honduras."

H.018 (Gang-Based Social Group Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Immigration Court, Chicago, Illinois
February 5, 2007
Redacted Unofficial Oral Transcript of Decision
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, Relief under of Article III of the Convention against Torture (CAT)
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • 18 year old female respondent sought asylum because armed gang members stalked her and her family daily over the course of two months. Respondent claimed she was part of a particular social group of youths you have been actively recruited by gangs (MS-13) but have refused to join because they opposed gangs. The Court found that the motivation of the group was to abuse Respondent because she refused to join or help the gang and that this motivation was sufficient to show shared past experience of a group. Withholding and CAT denied.

H.017 (Gang-Based Asylum)
“The Suarez Family”
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Immigration Court, San Francisco, California
February 28, 2007
Case Support, Redacted
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, Relief under of Article III of the Convention against Torture (CAT)
CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE (CAT) GRANTED

  • Respondents sought asylum on the grounds of the severe and unabating persecution directed at their family by the MS 18 gang.  Respondents claim that the abuse was due to the family's political views and their membership in a particular social group.  The gang damaged the family economically, physically and emotionally and the Honduran police were demonstrably either unwilling or unable to protect respondents from their attackers due to their own fear of the gang and corruption within the police force.  The court granted relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) due to respondents’ applicability to Article III.

H.016A (Gang-Based Asylum)
INS New York Asylum Office
December 2006
Memorandum of Law in Support of the Application for Asylum, REDACTED
Applications: Asylum and/or Withholding of Removal
Respondent: 19-year-old male
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • Because of his membership in the social group of "young boys who have been actively recruited by the street gangs in Honduras, but who have refused to join because they oppose the gangs based upon their moral beliefs and values," respondent sought asylum due to both past persecution suffered at the hands of gang members and to a well-founded fear of future persecution if forced to return to Honduras.  Respondent's membership in this particular social group is evidenced by the confrontations he had with gang members, who warned him of impending death by beating him with a baseball bat and even holding a gun to his head.  Additionally, respondent's eligibility for asylum is based on Honduran government's inability to control gang violence and protect general members of society.

H.016B
INS New York Asylum Office
Response to the U.S. Department of State Issue Paper and Closing Remarks, REDACTED
In Support of Application: Asylum

  • This response argues against claims made in the issue paper "Youth Gang Organizations in Honduras" posted in May 2006 by the U.S. Department of State's Office of Country Reports and Asylum Affairs.  The two responses demonstrate falsehoods in the issue paper by demonstrating that "gang membership is not necessarily voluntary" and that "gangs are able to track down a person who refused recruitment in another part of the country." 

H.015  (Domestic Violence & Gang-Based Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review
San Francisco, California
Brief, Declarations, Affidavits, and Supporting Documents, REDACTED
July 28, 2006
Applications: Asylum; Withholding of Removal, Relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)
CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE (CAT) GRANTED

  • Respondent sought asylum on account of her membership in the social group of Honduran teenage girls targeted, harassed, or recruited by gang members to participate in criminal activity and sexual exploitation.  She claims eligibility for asylum due to this immutable characteristic, which is also fundamental to an identity that she should not be required to change.  She is also eligible for asylum due to persecution for her anti-crime political opinion that Honduran police are not able or willing to protect her.  In addition, respondent claims eligibility for asylum as a member of the social group of her immediate family in which she was abused by her father.  She demonstrates that she has not only suffered past persecution but has a well-founded fear of future persecution as a young teenage girl with an anti-crime and anti-gang political opinion.  The court grants relief under CAT because it is "more likely than not" that the respondent would be persecuted upon returning to Honduras.  Repeated threats and sexual aggression from gang members and abuse by her father are substantiated by the lack of protection provided by Honduran police. 

H.012  (Gang-Based Asylum)
Affidavit of Bruce Harris, REDACTED
(Former) Executive Director
Casa Alianza/ Covenant House Latin America

  • Bruce Harris testifies as an expert on gangs in Latin America, and specifically in Honduras.  He discusses the origins of the gangs, the violence, tattoos, initiation rights, and also ‘death squads’ that target street children and gang members.

H.010 (Gang-Based Asylum)
Andres
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Chicago, Illinois
Memorandum of Law and Facts
June 18, 2004
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and/or Withholding Under the Convention Against Torture
ASYLUM GRANTED ON RELIGIOUS GROUNDS

  • As a child who refused to comply with gang orders, as a devout Christian, and as a young male with a past childhood affiliation to (MS) street gang, Andres argued that he had a well-founded fear of future persecution by the MS gang, by the police and by society.  Respondent argued that the Honduran authorities are unable and/or unwilling to control the MS gang’s threats.  Respondent argued clear probability of future persecution, since he suffered previous persecution and was a devout Christian, an affiliation that is targeted by the gang.  Defense argued that internal relocation is not a viable option for Andres, since the MS gang has an extensive regional network that will continue to target him for his abandonment of the gang.  His tattoos are an obvious indication of his immutable past affiliation, which will also make him a target for society and police enforcement.

H.009 (Gang-Based Asylum)
Expert Declaration of Jose Gustavo Zelaya Mendoza
June 17, 2004
Coordinator of Casa Alianza Honduras
Application: Regarding the petition for Asylum of WBC

  • Zelaya Mendoza gives his expert opinion on gangs and social violence in Honduras.

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
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • 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.006 (Gang-Based Asylum)
Hector Gonzalo Calderon-Medina
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Los Angeles, California
Decision and Order of the Immigration Judge Gembacz
May 1, 2002
Applications: Asylum; Withholding of Removal, Relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • Based on his well-founded fear of persecution on account of political opinion of refusing to join Mara 18 gang.  The Court concluded that the gang imputed from his refusal to join the gang, a belief that he supported the government.

H.004 (Domestic Violence & Gang-Based Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Immigration Court, Arlington, Virginia
Decision and Order by Judge Wayne R. Iskra
May 21, 2003
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, Relief under of Article III of the Convention against Torture (CAT)
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • The Court accepts that respondent was persecuted on account of his membership in the social group of his family, where he was a victim of domestic abuse.  The Court did not find that his membership in the social group of refusal to join gang (La Mara Salvatrucha (MS) amounted to persecution.

H.004A  
Brief in Support of Application for Asylum

  • Respondent asserts claim for asylum based on past persucution at the hands of his parents and by the recruitment tactics of the MS gang.  Respondent consequently demonstrates his well-founded fear of future persecution not only as a street child of Honduras but also by the MS gang because of familial relations to one of the MS enemies. 

H.004B
Annotated Table of Contents
 
H.002 (Gang-Based Asylum)
“D”
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Immigration Court, San Antonio, Texas
Decision of the Immigration Judge, REDACTED
September 9, 2004
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and Relief under the Convention against Torture (CAT), Voluntary Departure
Respondent: 19-year-old male
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • Respondent is a member of the particular social group of “young men who have been actively recruited by gangs, but refused to join because they oppose gangs.”  The Court found that the respondent’s anti-gang, anti-crime views and his decision to go to school, to get a job and to have a family constituted a political opinion.  MS gang members shot the respondent five times in the leg.  The Court found that since the MS gang is an international organization that the Honduran government is unable, and in some instances unwilling, to control, the boy would not be protected in his home country.

 

Guatemala

G.012 (Religious Affiliation & Gang-Based Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Los Angeles, California
Prehearing Brief
October 21, 2011

  • Respondent was targeted by gang enforcers on account of his evangelical Christian faith, pacifist beliefs and membership in the social group of his family members opposed on religious and political grounds to gangs.

G.011 (Gender Gang Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Miami, FL
Prehearing Brief
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • 18 year old female respondent was targeted by gangs and refused to join the gangs.

G.010 (Social Group Asylum)
"Mira"
Executive Office For Immigration Review
Los Angeles, California
Decision of the Immigration Court, Redacted, June 26, 2007
ASYLUM GRANTED
Prehearing Brief

  •  Respondent is a young girl without family connections who would become an easy target of violence which amounts to persecution within the meaning of the Act. 

G.008 (Social Group/Gang-Based Asylum)
“Sandra”
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Baltimore, Maryland
Memorandum of Decision and Order, REDACTED
November 8, 2006
Applications: Asylum; Withholding of Removal; Relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)
Respondent: 28-year-old female
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • The respondent sought asylum on the basis that she "is a member of the particular social group of young women who refuse to be the victims of violent sexual predation of gang members."  The court finds this group categorically "limited" because it only applied to women who have been targeted by gang members for sexual exploitation, therefore all women of Guatemala or Central America are not included.  The two "common" and "immutable" characteristics shared are not only sex but also "the refusal to be sexually victimized by gang members."  Additionally, respondent demonstrated that her fear of persecution is pervasive throughout Guatemala because the gang network is so connected that she would be found if she were to move to another part of the country.  Also, the Guatemalan government fails to offer any protection for the respondent because they are "unable to control the activities of the gangs that operate virtually with impunity within its borders."

G.008A 
"Sandra"
Respondent's Pre-Hearing Memorandum in Support of Respondent's Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal 
 
G.008B
"Sandra"
Respondent's Exhibit List Regarding Country Conditions and Violence Against Women in Guatemala
 
G.008C
"Sandra"
Respondent's Gang-Related Exhibit List
 
G.007 (Gang-Based Asylum)
Documents in Support of Application for Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and Convention Against Torture Protection
Filing before Asylum Office

  • Mother applied for asylum based on persecution on account of membership in a particular social group.  Her husband was killed by members of the MS 18 gang in front of her children's eyes.  The newspaper stated that the son and nephew were witnesses.  The family was then threatened by gang members, warning that if they told the police or anyone what happened that they would be killed.  After receiving these threats, the family fled to the United States seeking asylum.

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 GRANTED

  • 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.003 (Gang-Based Asylum)
Hessmir Sharon Orozco-Polanco
Executive Office for Immigration Review
El Paso, Texas
December 19, 1997
Written Decision of the Immigration Judge Zuniga
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • Asylum was granted “on the basis of a well-founded fear of persecution on account of political opinion and membership of a certain social group.”  Respondent fears persecution at the hands of the Poporopos and the El Bordo gangs, which are affiliated with the national gangs M-18 and M-13, respectively. The Court determined that the gangs qualify for persecution because the Guatemalan government is unable or unwilling to control them. He fears persecution by the gangs on account of his membership in the social group of “young, poor male Guatemalans who believe in the rule of law, in earning an honest living, and in not participating in illegal activities such as drug-trafficking the use of violence.”  Furthermore, the Court found that the grounds of membership in a particular social group and political opinion are interchangeable in this case and that his belief in the rule of law is a political opinion for which he was persecuted.


Mexico 

M.01 (Gang-based Tattoos)
Complaint regarding Due Process violation
Boise, Idaho
July 6, 2012

  • This complaint was filed in the US District Court of Idaho over the consular denial of the plaintiff's immigrant visa for the stated reason that plaintiff's tattoos evidenced his association with an organized street gang.  Plaintiff's tattoos include tattoos of his parents' names and dates of birth, tattoos of plaintiff's complete name and a tattoo of two faces - one happy and one sad.  Plaintiff's evidentiary submission to the Mexican Consulate included negative results of a criminal records search, photographs of the plaintiff's tattoos, an expert report indicating that the tattoos do not indicate gang involvement, and numerous letters regarding the plaintiff's good character.
©2011 USCRI
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