Pirir-Boc v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 05-07-2014
  • Case #: 09-73671
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Reinhardt for the Court; Circuit Judge Thomas and District Judge Sessions
  • Full Text Opinion

For the purposes of asylum and withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture, there must be evidence to support that the particular persecuted social group the petitioner belongs to is socially recognized. The persecutor's perception and persecutory conduct are factors to consider to determine a group's social viability.

Oliverto Pirir-Boc ("Pirir-Boc") "was granted asylum by the Immigration Judge ("IJ") based on his well-founded fear of persecution as a member of a particular social group characterized as individuals 'taking concrete steps to oppose gang membership and gang authority.' The Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") vacated the grant of asylum on the grounds that Pirir-Boc’s 'purported social group lacks the requisite particularity and social visibility.' Pirir-Boc filed a petition for review." After briefing was complete the Ninth Circuit issued a decision finding that "witnesses who testify against gang members" may be cognizable as a particular social group for the purposes of asylum" and ordered supplemental briefing. The Ninth Circuit held that in order "[t]o determine whether a group is a particular social group for the purposes of an asylum claim, the agency must make a case-by-case determination as to whether the group is recognized by the particular society in question. To be consistent with its own precedent, the BIA may not reject a group solely because it had previously found a similar group in a different society to lack social distinction or particularity, especially where it is presented with evidence showing that the proposed group may in fact be recognized by the relevant society." The panel declined to determine whether the revised statute was constitutional until the BIA had time to apply the revised rule, and because there was no evidence in the record to support withdrawal of Pirir-Boc's grant of asylum and withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture, Pirir-Boc's petition for review is GRANTED and REMANDED.

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