Regalado-Escobar v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 06-05-2013
  • Case #: 09-72964
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: District Judge William E. Smith for the Court; Circuit Judges Kleinfeld and Berzon.
  • Full Text Opinion

Opposition to a political party's violence constitutes a "political opinion that is a protected ground for asylum purposes."

Jorge Alberto Regalado-Escobar ("Regalado") is a citizen of El Salvador who fled to "the United States in February 2006 to escape the National Liberation Front for Farabundo Marti (FMLN)," a recognized political party in El Salvador. Regalado's problems in El Salvador began when he denied a request from members of the FMLN to join in violent protests which involved burning tires and breaking windows. Regalado testified that he "had always been a neutral person [and does not] agree with parties that use violence to resolve their political problems." Over the next few years, Regalado was subject to beatings from FMLN members and was forced to temporarily move to a neighboring town. Regalado petitioned for asylum in the United States and in now appealing "the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals denying his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture." In denying his petition, the Board of Immigration Appeals found that Regalado "did not have a political opinion that could serve as the basis for an asylum claim because he was not 'publicly or ideologically opposed to the ideals espoused by the FMLN.'" Specifically, the Board of Immigration determined that opposition to violence was not a political opinion sufficient to grant asylum. However, the Ninth Circuit found that "when a political organization has a patter of committing violent acts in furtherance of, or to promote, its politics, such strategy is political in nature..." Thus, Regalado's opposition to FMLN's violence "constitute[d] a political opinion that is a protected ground for asylum purposes." GRANTED and REMANDED in part; DENIED in part.

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