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Immigration; Asylum; Honduras

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//November 29, 2011//

Immigration; Asylum; Honduras

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//November 29, 2011//

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Asylum; Honduras

Absent evidence of the motivation of Honduran street gangs, an asylum seeker’s claim of asylum based on religious persecution was properly denied.

“The evidentiary record does not contain direct evidence of the motivations of the MS-13 gang members.

There is no testimony that Bueso-Avila’s attackers ever mentioned his religion or church youth group membership, nor that they gave any indication that they were aware of or even cared about these factors. The fact that some of the threats against Bueso-Avila occurred after church group meetings does not necessarily mean that the gang members were reacting to Bueso-Avila’s religious beliefs; in fact, the most serious attack against Bueso-Avila occurred as he was coming home from work, not from his church. In addition, Bueso-Avila’s documentary evidence presented did not indicate that the MS-13 gang had the motive of targeting people on the basis of religion or participation in church youth groups. Bueso-Avila’s testimony that the gang members knew about his religion and church youth group membership, and that the gang members persecuted him on account of these characteristics, is an inference based on circumstantial evidence. Now this is a possible and legitimate inference to make. But we cannot say that this inference is supported by circumstantial evidence that is ‘so compelling that no reasonable fact-finder could fail to find’ that the MS-13 gang was motivated to persecute Bueso-Avila on the basis of his religion or group membership. Jamal-Daoud v. Gonzales, 403 F.3d 918, 922 (7th Cir. 2005). Based on all the evidence presented by Bueso-Avila, it is also legitimate to infer that the gang members were either unaware of or did not care about Bueso-Avila’s religious beliefs and church group membership. Instead, they may have threatened and attacked him in an attempt to recruit him into the gang because he was one of several local youths who were potential recruits—which is not a protected basis under the Act. Consequently, there is not a sufficient basis to overturn the Board’s determination.”

Petition Denied.

10-2760 Bueso-Avila v. Holder

Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals, Manion, J.

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