Garay Reyes v. Lynch, No. 14-70686 (9th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Petitioner, a native and citizen of El Salvador, seeks review of the BIA's opinion in Matter of W-G-R-, wherein the BIA dismissed petitioner's appeal from an IJ's denial of petitioner's applications for withholding of removal and relief from removal under Article 3 of the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court denied the petition with regards to petitioner's claims for withholding of removal. The court concluded that the BIA's articulation of its “particularity” and “social distinction” requirements for demonstrating membership in a “particular social group” are entitled to Chevron deference; the BIA reasonably determined that petitioner's proposed particular social groups of “former members of Mara 18” and “deportees from the United States to El Salvador” are not cognizable; but the court granted the petition with respect to the denial of petitioner's CAT claim because the IJ committed legal error and the BIA employed an impermissible standard of review in assessing petitioner's request for CAT relief. The court remanded to allow the agency to reconsider the application for CAT relief recognizing that killings can constitute torture and to undertake the requisite fact finding in accordance with the agency’s regulations.