Argued: October 24, 2017
Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration
Appeals. Petition for review granted in part, denied in part,
and remanded for further proceedings by published opinion.
Judge Harris wrote the opinion, in which Chief Judge Gregory
and Judge Floyd joined.
Lincoln Robertson, Jr., ROBERTSON LAW OFFICE, PLLC,
Alexandria, Virginia, for Petitioner.
Anthony W. Norwood, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
Washington, D.C., for Respondent.
Benjamin C. Mizer, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney
General, Leslie McKay, Senior Litigation Counsel, Siu P.
Wong, Trial Attorney, Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil
Division, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington,
D.C., for Respondent.
GREGORY, Chief Judge, and FLOYD and HARRIS, Circuit Judges.
HARRIS, Circuit Judge:
Salgado-Sosa, a native and citizen of Honduras, seeks asylum,
withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention
Against Torture. If he is returned to Honduras, he fears, he
will face persecution at the hands of the gang MS-13, which
has repeatedly attacked his family for resisting extortion
agency proceedings focused on whether Salgado-Sosa could
show, for purposes of both his asylum and withholding of
removal claims, a nexus between MS-13's threats and
membership in a cognizable "particular social
group" - here, Salgado-Sosa's family. The Board of
Immigration Appeals found that Salgado-Sosa could not
establish the requisite nexus, and denied withholding of
removal on that ground. The Board separately found that
Salgado-Sosa's asylum application was untimely, and that
there was insufficient evidence to justify protection under
the Convention Against Torture.
conclude that the Board erred in holding that Salgado-Sosa
did not meet the nexus requirement. The record compels the
conclusion that at least one central reason for
Salgado-Sosa's persecution is membership in his family, a
protected social group under the Immigration and Nationality
Act. Accordingly, we vacate the denial of withholding of
removal, and remand for further proceedings on that claim. On
the asylum claim, we separately remand for consideration of
whether our recent decision in Zambrano v. Sessions,
878 F.3d 84 (4th Cir. 2017), affects Salgado-Sosa's
argument that a statutory "changed circumstances"
exception allows consideration of his untimely application.
August 2005, Salgado-Sosa entered the United States without
authorization and began living with his uncle in Sterling,
Virginia. In September 2010, the Department of Homeland
Security served him with a notice to appear, charging him as
an alien who had not been admitted or paroled in violation of
section 212(a)(6)(A)(i) of the INA. Salgado-Sosa conceded
removability, but applied for asylum, withholding of removal,
and protection under the Convention Against Torture
removal hearing, Salgado-Sosa and his stepfather, Humberto
Merez-Merlo, testified before the Immigration Judge
("IJ") and submitted affidavits, an expert
declaration, and other documentary evidence for the
court's consideration. We begin by summarizing the
testimony and evidence and then outline the legal proceedings
and his extended family were operating a small convenience
store and automobile repair shop out of their family home in
Tegucigalpa, Honduras, when armed members of the gang Mara
Salvatrucha, known as "MS-13, " began to threaten
and harass them for a "war tax" in exchange for
protection. Merez-Merlo, Salgado-Sosa's stepfather,
refused to ...