The Second Circuit Court of Appeals declined to overturn the denial of asylum on behalf of a woman from Honduras who was kidnapped by a cartel with her family for three days, during which time they deprived them of food and repeatedly tortured her husband.

The immigration judge below found that the woman (Garcia-Aranda) testified credibly, but denied the family’s applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT relief and ordered their removal to Honduras based on a finding that she failed to satisfy her burden of proof because her proposed social group (members of the Valerio family in San Juan, Tela, Atlantida, Honduras) did not constitute a “particular social group,” as required by 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42). The IJ made an alternative finding that even if the Valerio family did qualify as a “particular social group,” Garcia-Aranda did not establish that her affiliation with the family was “at least one central reason” why gang members had targeted her, as required by 8 U.S.C. § 1158(b)(1)(B)(i). Instead, the IJ concluded that the gang had targeted her due to a perception that she was wealthy.


Here is a link to the 2nd Circuit's opinion in Garcia-Aranda v. Garland: https://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/46335ed1-815d-4ae9-b94c-085a4f8a5b55/11/doc/18-2281_opn.pdf#xml=https://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/46335ed1-815d-4ae9-b94c-085a4f8a5b55/11/hilite/