Rodriguez Tornes v. Garland, No. 19-71104 (9th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit granted the petition for review of the BIA's decision reversing the IJ's grant of asylum and withholding of removal to petitioner. The panel held that it was compelled to conclude that petitioner established a nexus between her mistreatment and her feminist political opinion and the BIA necessarily concluded that she carried her burden to prove the other elements of her claims for asylum and withholding of removal.
The panel denied the government's motion to remand so that the BIA can consider Matter of A-B- II's effect on nexus, concluding that Matter of A-B- II did not change the standard for establishing nexus, at least in this circuit. The panel has repeatedly held that political opinions encompass more than electoral politics or formal political ideology or action. Like the Third Circuit, the panel had little doubt that feminism qualifies as a political opinion within the meaning of the relevant statutes. In this case, substantial evidence does not support the BIA's conclusion that the record lacks evidence of a nexus between petitioner's persecution and her feminist political opinion. Rather, the panel concluded that petitioner had an actual or imputed political opinion and she was persecuted because of that political opinion. Finally, the petition presented a recognized exception to the ordinary remand rule under I.N.S. v. Ventura, 537 U.S. 12 (2002) (per curiam). The panel remanded for the Attorney General to exercise his discretion in determining whether to grant petitioner asylum. If he does not grant asylum, petitioner shall receive withholding of removal.