Cortez-Mendez v. Whitaker (P)

Substantial evidence supports the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision to deny withholding the petitioner’s removal from the United States. He asserts that gangs in his native El Salvador persecuted him because his father’s disabilities (deaf and mute) made him an “easy mark,” based on statements of ridicule the petitioner heard directed at his family.

The petitioner’s only evidence linking persecution to his father is that non-gang neighborhood harassers had “made fun of” him. It does not follow that gang members intimidated the petition because of his relation to his disabled father. Instead, circumstantial evidence in the record reflects that the petitioner was harassed because he didn’t join the gangs.

The Immigration & Naturalization Act doesn’t protect every person who rejects gang recruitment efforts. If the court were to grant withholding of removal based on the slim evidence in this record, every family member of a disabled person would be eligible for refugee status if anyone harassed them in their home country.

Petition denied.

Cortez-Mendez v. Whitaker (P), No. 16-2389, Jan. 7, 2019. 4th Cir. (Agee) from BIA.

Categories: 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Opinions, Published


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