Federal Appeals Court Rules That Fleeing Violence Is Not A Valid Claim For Seeking Asylum

A federal appeals court has ruled that escaping violence is not a legitimate reason for seeking asylum in the US.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit filed by Jose Alberto Hercules, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, who sought asylum to prevent deportation by alleging he was escaping violence and would be targeted by gangs if deported.

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Hercules’ appeal had previously been denied by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) when a federal immigration court determined that he had no valid claim to asylum and therefore was subject to deportation.

Hercules said he was qualified for asylum for three reasons: he was escaping violence in El Salvador, he was a Salvadoran man, and if he was deported from the United States, he said he would be targeted by gangs who mistaken him for a wealthy person.

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Hercules’ case was dismissed and denied review by the appeals court:

“First, Hercules contends the BIA erred in determining he failed to allege a cognizable particular social group for purposes of his withholding-of-removal claim. “To be eligible for withholding of removal, an applicant must demonstrate a clear probability of persecution upon return” on account of a statutorily protected ground, such as his membership in a particular social group. Roy v. Ashcroft, 389 F.3d 132, 138 (5th Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The BIA correctly concluded Hercules’ originally proposed particular social group, “Salvadoran men who fear violence and delinquency in their home country”, was not a cognizable particular social group because it was circularly defined by the feared persecution.”

“Although Hercules attempted to allege a new particular social group before the BIA, “Salvadoran males”, the BIA declined to consider that particular social group because it was not presented to the immigration judge. Such a ruling does not constitute reversible error.”

“In addition, Hercules maintains his hearing testimony presented an additional particular social group: individuals deported from the United States, who would be perceived by gang members and other criminals to have money. The immigration judge found that, to the extent he alleged such a group, it was not cognizable. Hercules never asserted to the BIA that he had presented such a group or that it constituted a valid particular social group; his failure to exhaust this contention renders our court unable to review the claim.”

The appeals court determined that none of the asylum claims were acceptable, highlighting that avoiding violence elsewhere is not a justifiable cause for foreign individuals to stay in the United States.

Major U.S. cities such as Chicago, Illinois, Baltimore, Maryland, and St. Louis, Missouri now have greater crime rates than El Salvador, according to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.

“According to the numbers, El Salvador is in fact safer than many major American cities. Safer than Baltimore, for example,” Carlson said in a monologue:

“In 2018, Baltimore had 51 murders per 100,000 residents. That same year, San Salvador had a smaller number — 50.3 murders per 100,000 residents. San Salvador was long the most dangerous city in the hemisphere. Baltimore also had a higher murder rate than Guatemala, Honduras, and Afghanistan.”

“So why aren’t residents in Baltimore applying for asylum in Central America? Thanks to good leadership, El Salvador is getting safer. Meanwhile, thanks to people like Kamala Harris, our country is becoming far more dangerous.”

According to the Department of Justice, just around 14% of foreign individuals who claim deep fear upon entering the United States are granted asylum. Approximately 86.5 percent of those released into the United States’ interior are either rejected asylum, have their asylum claims withdrawn, or never ask for asylum.

Hercules v. Garland, Case No. 20-60658, is a case in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Joe Visconti

Joe Visconti is the Social Media Manager at The Scoop. Pretty decent guy.

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