Matter of Perdomo

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit sent the case of Lesly Perdomo back to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) for a ruling on whether “Guatemalan women” can be a particular social group within the meaning of the law. See Perdomo v. Holder, 611 F.3d 662 (9th Cir. 2010). Before the BIA, the government argued that further fact-finding was necessary and sought remand to the immigration judge. The BIA remanded the case to the immigration court.

CGRS Involvement

CGRS filed an amicus brief in this case when it returned to the BIA. The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) also filed an amicus brief. Ms. Perdomo was represented by attorney Alan Hutchison of Reno, Nevada.

Basic Facts

Ms. Perdomo left Guatemala in 1991, at age 15, to join her mother in the United States. She fears returning to Guatemala because of the high murder rates for women there and the systematic violations of human rights women suffer. She requested asylum on that basis.

Procedural History

The immigration judge (IJ) found Ms. Perdomo credible, but denied her application for asylum and withholding of removal, ruling that the proposed social group of “women who are Guatemalan between the ages of 14 and 40 who live in the United States” was not valid for the purposes of asylum law. The BIA held that “all Guatemalan women” is too broad to constitute a social group. The case was appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which ruled that “women in a particular country . . . could constitute a particular social group.”  Perdomo, 611 F.3d at 667. Importantly, the court clarified that Ninth Circuit precedent does not require a particular social group to be narrowly defined. The Court remanded the case “for the BIA to correctly apply Ninth Circuit precedent, in particular Hernandez-Montiel, to determine in the first instance whether women in Guatemala constitutes a particular social group, and, if so, whether Ms. Perdomo demonstrated a fear of persecution ‘on account of’ her membership in such a group.” Id. at 669. On remand, the BIA accepted supplemental filings and granted amici permission to appear. It then remanded the case to the immigration court on the government’s request.

To learn more about CGRS’s work on violence against women in Guatemala, please visit this page.

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