The Arlington Immigration Court granted withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) to a 20 year-old Salvadoran national who has lived in the United States since the age of 4. After several misdemeanor marijuana convictions our client lost his previously held Temporary Protected Status. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained him at the Farmville Detention Center while he was placed in removal proceedings and his case went forward at the Arlington Immigration Court.
To demonstrate eligibility for withholding of removal under the INA an applicant must prove that it is more likely than not that his life or freedom would be threatened in the country of removal on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Our client’s father had been a police officer for many years in El Salvador and had been murdered in a gang-style killing. On account of his membership in his father’s family, we were able to successfully establish that our client faced a future harm from gang members, specifically those that had attacked his father, should he be returned to El Salvador. The Court granted the application for withholding finding that our client faced persecution on account of his membership in a particular social group by gang members that the government of El Salvador is unable to control.
An applicant must show that it is more likely than not that he will be tortured or killed in the country of removal by, at the instigation of, or with the acquiescence of a public official or one acting in an official capacity to receive protection under CAT. The Immigration Judge determined that our client’s long term residence in the United States, visible tattoo, broken Spanish, criminal record and lack of support network all contributed to the likelihood that our client would be tortured or killed by gangs in El Salvador. The Court went on to find that our evidence sufficiently established acquiescence by the government of El Salvador due not only to their inability to control the gangs, but that the government of El Salvador is often willfully blind and even actively participatory in the torture and extrajudicial killings of youths. For these reasons, our client was also granted protection under CAT.
Although it is highly unusual for an immigration judge to grant both withholding of removal under the INA and protection under CAT, Murray Osorio PLLC felt that the unique circumstances of this case warranted these forms of relief. Our client’s life had been almost entirely lived in the United States and removing him to El Salvador, where he had no support network or understanding of the culture, would have been throwing him into an unmanageable abyss. Murray Osorio PLLC is extremely pleased that this young man will be able to continue his life here in the United States with his family and that we were able to obtain him relief from the certain persecution he would have faced in El Salvador.