Barajas-Romero v. Lynch, No. 13-70520 (9th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Petitioner seeks review of the BIA's affirmance of the IJ's denial of withholding of removal and denial of relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The court rejected the BIA's decision to follow its own precedent in Matter of C-T-L, which held that the "one central reason" test for asylum applies to withholding, even though the withholding statute says merely "a reason." The court held that "a reason" is a less demanding standard than "one central reason." Because the BIA accepted the government’s view under the wrong standard, the court remanded to the BIA to decide the case under the correct standard: " a reason" rather than "one central reason." The court also concluded that the statute and regulations do not establish a “rogue official” exception to CAT relief. The court explained that the regulations say that torture has to be at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or some other person acting in an official capacity. In this case, the record leaves no room for doubt the four policemen that attacked petitioner were public officials who themselves inflicted the torture. Because the BIA did not evaluate relocation under the no-burden-shifting standard, and applied the incorrect standard in assessing petitioner's withholding claim, the court remanded pursuant to INS v. Ventura. Accordingly, the court granted the petition.