Articulating the Risks of Torture
Political Asylum and Immigrants’ Rights Project / Articulating the Risks of Torture
Sidley assisted Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services with a petition for review in the Fourth Circuit of a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision denying our client’s claim of protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT).  Eduardo Rodriguez-Arias fled his native El Salvador as a child, seeking refuge from gang violence that directly impacted his family. After arriving in the U.S., he became affiliated with a U.S. gang, and although he left the gang in 2012, his highly visible tattoos marked him as a target of rival gangs in El Salvador. Eventually, he was arrested and placed in removal hearings. He applied for asylum and withholding of removal and also sought relief under CAT, but was denied in each appeal.  Ultimately, our arguments — that he faced torture from the police, vigilante groups and rival gang members if deported to El Salvador — prevailed, and the Fourth Circuit remanded the case to the BIA for reconsideration. The Fourth Circuit also adopted a new law recognizing that risks from all sources should be considered together when determining whether a CAT applicant is more likely than not to face torture.