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June 21, 2021
Along with a team of colleagues, Greenville associate Logan Lewis successfully appealed a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit for a man who had previously been denied withholding of removal and relief under the Convention Against Torture. The Court granted the team's petition for review, vacated the decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals, and remanded the case. David A. Hoffman of Vinson & Elkins argued the case, Lewis and Hoffman wrote the brief, and Juan Cristobal Quevedo of the Bronx Defenders brought the case to them.
The client crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona with the aid of smugglers who were part of a Mexican cartel. He later identified two of the smugglers to U.S. immigration officials. As a result, the client and his family were threatened by the Mexican cartel, and he was eventually kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and imprisoned in the U.S. by a cartel smuggler.
In support of the Board's decision to deny withholding of removal and relief, the government relied on a regulation which states that only evidence of past persecution “in the proposed country of removal” can give rise to a presumption “that the applicant’s life or freedom would be threatened in the future in the country of removal.”
Although the client’s testimony suggested that he would suffer further abuse upon returning to Mexico — where the smugglers who allegedly attacked him, threatened him, and put a bounty on his head are based — the agency did not properly investigate these possibilities, the team argued. The agency could have considered the harm that the client suffered in the United States as evidence supporting a likelihood of future persecution in Mexico. Their position was adopted by the 2nd Circuit, which ultimately remanded the case.
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