Ayala v. Holder, No. 11-1737 (1st Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Ayala was born in 1957, shortly after Guatemala's president was assassinated. The decades that followed were tumultuous, with guerilla violence common until peace arrived in 1996. Her family suffered two deaths and two robberies. In 1993, Ayala fled to the U.S., leaving behind children, ages 10 and 14 and filed a petition for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. In 2006, DHS charged her as removeable. An IJ found Ayala credible but denied her relief because she could not prove past persecution, establish a reasonable fear of future persecution on account of a protected ground, or meet the more difficult tests for withholding of removal and CAT protection. The BIA affirmed, rejecting her claim for asylum under 8 U.S.C. 1158(b)(1)(A) because Ayala was unable to establish that past persecution was or the persecution she fears will be on account of a legally protected ground. The First Circuit affirmed. Asylum claims based on perceived wealth because of a petitioner's connections to the U.S. have consistently been rejected.