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Vasquez v. Barr

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

March 20, 2019

ROSA CABRERA VASQUEZ, a/k/a Ruth Calderon Rocha, Petitioner,
v.
WILLIAM P. BARR, Attorney General, Respondent.

          Argued: December 12, 2018

          On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals.

         ARGUED:

          Michael Rosado, LAW OFFICES OF ROSADO & SOTREN, P.C., Beltsville, Maryland, for Petitioner.

          Alexander Jacob Lutz, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Respondent.

         ON BRIEF:

          Chad A. Readler, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Anthony C. Payne, Assistant Director, Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil Division, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Respondent.

          Before GREGORY, Chief Judge, WYNN, and THACKER, Circuit Judges.

          GREGORY, CHIEF JUDGE.

         Appellant Rosa Cabrera Vasquez ("Cabrera") and her son Brandon were told they would be killed by members of the 18th Street gang if they did not leave their native country of El Salvador within 24 hours. That was the second death threat the mother and son received. When local law enforcement refused to provide any form of aid, Cabrera and Brandon made their journey to the United States. Their application for relief under the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment ("CAT") was denied. Because the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") failed to fully consider the evidence in support of Cabrera's CAT claim, we grant her petition for review of that claim, vacate the BIA's order with respect to that claim, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         I.

         A.

         Cabrera's family has been the victim of gang violence in El Salvador. In 2010, her 17-year-old nephew was murdered by gang members when he attempted to resist the gang's assault. Four years later, in March 2014, Cabrera's sister-in-law disappeared after being kidnapped by gang members during the night from her home. During the three weeks that Cabrera's sister-in-law was missing, Cabrera and her youngest son Brandon searched for her. When Cabrera's sister-in-law was found, she had been sexually assaulted and beaten severely.

         In the course of that search, Cabrera and Brandon happened upon a clandestine graveyard used by members of the 18th Street gang. Thereafter, gang members began to threaten Cabrera and her son with death if they told anyone about the graveyard. Cabrera reported the threats to local police but was told that without any proof of the threats, the police could do nothing to help her. So Cabrera took her son and moved. But the gang tracked them down and continued to threaten Cabrera and her son's lives. Gang members sent notes and messages, making it clear that "they didn't want to see [Cabrera] ...


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