Cazun v. Attorney General, United States, No. 15-3374 (3d Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Aliens subject to reinstated removal orders are ineligible to apply for asylum. Cazun was detained at the border and expressed fear of returning to Guatemala. An asylum officer made a negative credible fear determination. An IJ affirmed. An expedited order of removal was issued. Upon Cazun’s return to Guatemala, a drug trafficking gang threatened, tortured, and sexually assaulted her. Cazun fled with her two-year-old son. On her attempted re-entry, Cazun was detained. DHS reinstated her previously-entered removal order rather than initiating a new removal process. An IJ again affirmed a negative credible fear determination. Cazun consulted counsel and, claiming psychological trauma, obtained a new interview, Cazun described sexual assault, torture, and threats against her life and her son's life. The officer concluded that Cazun’s testimony was credible and established a reasonable fear of persecution. An IJ granted Cazun withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture, but would not consider Cazun’s asylum request. The BIA agreed that she was ineligible under 8 U.S.C. 1231(a)(5), which states that aliens who are subject to a reinstated removal order are “may not apply for any relief under [8 U.S.C. Ch. 12].” The Third Circuit upheld the decision, deferring to the BIA’s “reasonable” interpretation of a statute in which Congress did not speak clearly.