Nolasco-Amaya v. Garland, No. 20-70187 (9th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
During 2005 removal proceedings, Amaya returned to Honduras after her mother fell ill. An IJ issued an in absentia removal order. After Amaya reentered the U.S. in 2019, the government reinstated its removal order, 8 U.S.C. 1231(a)(5), rendering Amaya ineligible for asylum. An IJ denied Amaya’s applications for withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). He assumed that Amaya testified credibly and concluded that Amaya had demonstrated past persecution on account of a protected ground.
The Ninth Circuit remanded. Given her pro se status, Amaya’s Notice of Appeal was sufficiently specific to inform the Board of the issues; the Board violated her due process rights by summarily dismissing her appeal. The Board “may not ignore a pro se petitioner’s inartful legal arguments.” Given the limited relief to which she was entitled, Amaya’s Notice was sufficient. Her statement that "the police from my government of Honduras didn’t do nothing to help me" put the Board on notice that she challenged the finding that she did not establish that the police would be unable or unwilling to protect her. Her statement that "[t]he gangs MS-13 [are] there in all the places in Honduras" notified the Board that she disputed the IJ’s conclusion that she could relocate safely within Honduras. Amaya’s failure to discuss past torture or the likelihood of future torture did not mean that her entire appeal was automatically subject to summary dismissal.