Chavez v. Garland

United States Court of Appeals For the First Circuit No. 21-1267 ROMMEL ALEXANDER CHAVEZ, Petitioner, v. MERRICK B. GARLAND, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL, Respondent. PETITION FOR REVIEW OF AN ORDER OF THE BOARD OF IMMIGRATION APPEALS Before Gelpí, Lipez, and Howard, Circuit Judges. SangYeob Kim, with whom Gilles Bissonnette, Caroline Meade, American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire, and New Hampshire Immigrants' Rights Project were on brief, for petitioner. Susan Bennett Green, Senior Litigation Counsel, Office of Immigration Litigation, U.S. Department of Justice, with whom Brian M. Boynton, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, and Linda S. Wernery, Assistant Director, were on brief, for respondent. Anna R. Welch, Clinical Professor, Camrin M. Rivera, Student Attorney, Emily L. Gorrivan, Student Attorney, and Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, University of Maine School of Law on brief for amicus curiae Immigration Law Professors. October 21, 2022 HOWARD, Circuit Judge. Rommel Alexander Chavez, a citizen of El Salvador, petitions for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") affirming the denial of his application for withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA") and for protection under the Convention Against Torture ("CAT"). For the following reasons, we grant the petition in part, vacate the decision of the BIA in part, and remand to the BIA for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. I. A. Rommel Alexander Chavez is a 45-year-old Salvadoran citizen who has lived in the United States since 1997, with the exception of a two-month period in 2012. The IJ found him credible, and the BIA did not disturb that finding. Cf. Kalubi v. Ashcroft, 364 F.3d 1134, 1141-42 (9th Cir. 2004) ("[A]bsent an adverse credibility determination, testimony must be accepted as true . . . ."). Accordingly, "we accept as true [] [his] testimony about the historical facts." See Palma-Mazariegos v. Gonzales, 428 F.3d 30, 33 (1st Cir. 2005). While Chavez was growing up in El Salvador, he and his family had several violent encounters with the police. In 1978 or 1979, when Chavez was two or three years old, his eldest brother, Oscar, broke a curfew to go see his girlfriend. In the process, - 3 - he ran into the police and was shot and killed by them. Chavez also had a violent encounter with the police in 1991 or 1992, when he was 15 or 16 years old. A group of police officers stopped him on the street and started searching him in an aggressive manner, hitting him at one point with a weapon. He had a bike with him, and they asked him where the papers for it were.1 He told them that they were at his house, but they nevertheless started trying to take the bike away from him. He tried to grab it from their hands, but they wouldn't stop, and eventually, he began to run away toward his house. Just before he reached his house an officer shot him in his buttocks. When his brother Omar came out of the …

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