immigrationIn Gonzales Aguilar v. Garland, — F.4th –, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 8183 (March 29, 2022), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in a split decision, ruled that any reasonable adjudicator would have been compelled to find a pattern and practice of persecution against a transgender women in Honduras. The circuit court thus 10th Circuit Spotlightreversed the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision rejecting the petitioner’s asylum claim, ruled that she was eligible for asylum, and remanded for the BIA to reconsider her claim. The decision is a rare example of a circuit court reversing a decision under the highly deferential compulsion standard.

Immigration Court and BIA Proceedings

Petitioner Kelly Gonzalez Aguilar is a transgender woman from Honduras who was born male and called Oscar. Id. at *2. From an early age, Oscar displayed many feminine qualities. When his mother left home for Mexico, Oscar went to live with his uncle, who beat him and expressed disgust for his feminine behavior. Id. When Oscar was 12 years old, he and his sister fled to Mexico to look for their mother, but Oscar suffered further abuse in Mexico. Id. at *3. They then came to the United States, where Oscar publicly identified as a woman, took hormonal treatments, wore female clothes, and changed her name to Kelly. Id.