Avila v. Sessions, No. 17-1723 (7th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
In 1991, Molina-Avila, born in Guatemala and then 11 years old, came to the U.S. with his sister and brother. He became a legal permanent resident the same year. As a young adult, he was convicted of three drug offenses under Illinois law. DHS initiated removal proceedings.
Molina-Avila requested deferral of removal because he feared torture by Guatemalan gangs. His brother had been deported to Guatemala in 1998 and experienced violent harassment by a Guatemalan gang, the Mara 18. Molina-Avila believes the harassment occurred because his brother was perceived as a wealthy former-American. The IJ and BIA denied relief. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the decision as supported by substantial evidence. Molina-Avila relied on generalized evidence in arguing his tattoos and perceived wealth would inevitably result in torture and the record did not compel the conclusion that the police force is unwilling or unable to investigate gang violence nor did it compel the conclusion that safe relocation within Guatemala would be impossible.