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Gang Tattoos Risk Torture If Deported to El Salvador

Miguel Velasquez-Samayoa v. Merrick Garland Docket: 21-70093, Opinion Date: September 23, 2022.Petitioner asserted that, if he were removed to his native country of El Salvador, he would be identified as a gang member based on his gang tattoos and face a significant risk of being killed or tortured—either by Salvadoran officials or by members of a rival gang with the acquiescence of the Salvadoran government. The Board concluded that Petitioner failed to demonstrate a clear probability of torture because he did not establish that every step in a hypothetical chain of events was more likely than not to happen. The Ninth Circuit filed: (1) an order amending its opinion filed on June 24, 2022, otherwise denying a motion to amend, and stating that petitions for rehearing and for rehearing en banc may be filed, and (2) an amended opinion granting Petitioner’s petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision affirming denial of protection under the Convention Against Torture, and remanding. In the amended opinion, the panel held that the Board erred by failing to adequately consider Petitioner’s aggregate risk of torture from multiple sources, and erred in rejecting Petitioner’s expert’s credible testimony solely because it was not corroborated by additional country conditions evidence. The panel concluded that the Board erred by failing to assess Petitioner’s aggregate risk of torture. The panel concluded that the Board also erred by disregarding credible testimony from Petitioner’s expert. The panel remanded for the agency to properly assess the aggregate risk that Petitioner will be tortured if he is removed to El Salvador and, as part of that assessment, to properly consider the expert testimony.


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