Pieschacon-Villegas v. Attorney Gen. of the U.S., No. 09-4719 (3d Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
From 1996 until 2003, petitioner, a Columbian, laundered money for Colombian drug traffickers. He was arrested and agreed to cooperate with the FBI. Conviction and sentencing were deferred. He worked with the FBI from 2003 to 2007. In 2007, petitioner was arrested in Colombia for failure to pay a fine years earlier. He paid the fine, but remained in jail for 22 days. He claims that his arrest was to facilitate his murder by the paramilitary group targeted by his FBI work. When he returned to the U.S. he was arrested because FBI agents believed he was involved in money laundering outside of his cooperation. Petitioner pled guilty based on the 1999 transfers. DHS charged him as removable. An IJ and the BIA denied his request for deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture. The Third Circuit remanded. The BIA must consider that an applicant can establish governmental acquiescence even if the government opposes the paramilitary organization that is engaged in torturous acts. The BIA must also consider that country conditions can, by themselves, constitute grounds for determining that an applicant would more likely than not be subjected to torture upon return to the country of removal.