Ruiz-Cabrera v. Holder, No. 13-2939 (7th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Cabrera entered the U.S. without inspection in 2001. After a 2009 arrest, he applied for withholding of removal under 8 U.S.C. 1231 saying that he feared return to Mexico because of threats and mistreatment by his wife, who holds local office. Cabrera stated that he feared his wife would use political influence to have people cause him harm, including torture at the hands of Mexican law enforcement. He asserted membership in a particular social group: “individuals who face persecution by corrupt governmental and law enforcement authorities instigated by a politically connected spouse” and applied for protection under the Convention Against Torture. The immigration judge found his testimony credible but denied his applications, finding that Cabrera had not proposed a valid social group because he did not identify a shared characteristic aside from persecution and had not shown that he would be harmed based on his membership in that group. The judge concluded that his wife had “a personal vendetta” and that Cabrera could not show a likelihood of torture because he had not been injured and had not shown that his wife ever followed through on her threats. The BIA affirmed. The Seventh Circuit denied review. A “particular social group” must be linked by something more than persecution. Substantial evidence supports a conclusion that his wife tried to hurt Cabrera out of personal animosity.