Villanueva v. Holder
A petitioner may request asylum on the basis that the petitioner possesses a fear of future persecution, because of his race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(42). The petitioner, a citizen of El Salvador, sought asylum, withholding of removal and relief under the Convention Against Torture. Hartford Immigration Judge Philip Verrillo pretermitted the asylum application and denied the requests for withholding of removal and relief under CAT. The Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed. The petitioner appealed to the 2nd Circuit and argued that he feared the possibility of future persecution because of his race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Apparently, the immigration judge found that the petitioner's family was harmed in the past as a result of gang violence, as opposed to the family's membership in a particular social group. The petitioner admitted that he did not know why gangs had harmed his family. "Under such circumstances," wrote the 2nd Circuit, "the agency did not err in finding that [the petitioner] failed to establish that the harm his family suffered and he fears in El Salvador was on account of a protected ground." The 2nd Circuit denied the petition for review.