Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Promising Asylum Cases from the Fourth Circuit

In 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals has issued two cases that give some hope to people from Central America filing asylum applications based on gang-related issues.

In Martinez v. Holder, Crt No. 12-2424 (January 24, 2014), the Court held that being a former gang member was an immutable characteristic and may serve as the basis for claiming persecution based on a particular social group.  The case was remanded back to the Board of immigration Appeals.

In Aquino-Cardova v. Holder, Crt No. 13-1597 (July 17, 2014), the Court held that a person who is related to members of rival gangs who in turn are targeted for violence may qualify as a particular social group based on family ties.  This case was also remanded to the BIA.

These opinions appear to signal a shift in the trend in asylum law, wherein the U.S. Government resisted gang-related asylum claims.  The Fourth Circuit is largely considered a conservative jurisdiction, and thus these opinions which have a more liberal holding on asylum law are very significant.  While it may be early to tell, the cases could signal a trend of loosening the restrictions for aliens applying for asylum because they are escaping gang-related violence in Central America.  The cases have come in time to perhaps have some affect on the huge surge of Central Americans fleeing their countries and crossing the U.S. border with Mexico.

If you have a gang-related asylum case, call me for an appointment at (703) 837-8832, or email me at


William J. Kovatch, Jr.

No comments:

Post a Comment