Gutierrez v. Garland, No. 19-60408 (5th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Gutierrez was born and raised amid violence in Honduras. He resisted MS-13’s attempts to coerce him to join the gang or pay a “war tax” and the gang repeatedly brutalized him and his wife and threatened to kill them. The record contains gruesome photos of his wounds. Gutierrez entered the U.S. illegally and sought relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The immigration judge, finding Gutierrez credible and his account “detailed, plausible, and coherent,” found that “MS-13 is more likely than not to torture or kill him upon his return” but denied CAT relief and ordered Gutierrez removed, finding that any such torture would not occur with the “consent or acquiescence” of Honduran officials. The BIA dismissed Gutierrez’s appeal.
The Fifth Circuit denied his petition for review. Gutierrez made a compelling humanitarian case for why removing him to Honduras will effectively abandon him to torture and death at the hands of MS-13 thugs but to make out a CAT claim, the law demands that this violence will likely occur “with the consent or acquiescence” of Honduran officials, 8 C.F.R. 1208.18(a)(1). The IJ and BIA found that Gutierrez had not established “consent or acquiescence.” The evidence does not compel a contrary conclusion.