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Zambrano v. Sessions

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

December 5, 2017

EDWIN ALEXANDER ROMERO ZAMBRANO, Petitioner,
v.
JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS III, Attorney General, Respondent.

          Argued: September 12, 2017

         On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals.

         ARGUED:

          Benjamin Winograd, IMMIGRANT & REFUGEE APPELLATE CENTER, LLC, Alexandria, Virginia, for Petitioner.

          Rebecca Hoffberg Phillips, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Respondent.

         ON BRIEF:

          Laura Jacobsen, L&L IMMIGRATION LAW, PLLC, Alexandria, Virginia, for Petitioner.

          Chad A. Readler, Acting Assistant Attorney General, John S. Hogan, Assistant Director, Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil Division, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Respondent.

          Before KEENAN and WYNN, Circuit Judges, and John A. GIBNEY, Jr., United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia, sitting by designation.

          GIBNEY, DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Edwin Romero Zambrano appeals the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (the "BIA") to affirm an Immigration Judge's ("IJ") decision to deny his application for asylum. Romero Zambrano claims that the BIA applied the wrong legal standard in assessing his asylum eligibility and the wrong standard of review when evaluating the IJ's decision. As explained below, we agree that the BIA applied the wrong legal standard for assessing asylum eligibility and therefore grant the petition for review and remand to the BIA for further proceedings.

         I.

         Romero Zambrano, a native citizen of Honduras, joined the Honduran military after high school and helped local police arrest gang members. After Romero Zambrano left the army, members of the "Barrio Pobres" from the 18th Street gang tried to track him down to get their revenge. Romero Zambrano moved frequently to avoid detection and tried unsuccessfully to enter the United States five times. He finally managed to enter the United States in August 2011.

         The gang's search for him continued. In 2012, armed men broke into the apartments of Romero Zambrano's sister and former girlfriend in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, asking about his location. Gang members continued ...


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