In an unpublished decision, the Third Circuit remanded a case to the Board of Immigration Appeals (Board) for further evaluation of whether "Guatemalans who are perceived to be wealthy as a result of previously living in the United States" qualified as a cognizable social group for withholding of removal.  The court criticized the Board for relying  on past decisions for the blanket proposition that cases involving perceived wealth, gangs, and crime do not implicate a cognizable social group, without evaluating whether the evidentiary record demonstrated that the proposed group in the instant case was immutable, socially distinct, and particularized.  "The cognizability of a proposed social group must be addressed on a case-by-case basis."

With respect to the request for protection under the Convention Against Torture, the Board issued its decision in a single sentence, stating that the petitioner did not "show that he is more likely than not to be tortured in Guatemala with the consent or acquiescence (including willful blindness) of a government official.”  The Third Circuit remanded, stating that the Board's "conclusory, one-sentence denial of Sazo-Godinez’s claim for CAT relief is insufficient for us to conduct a meaningful review."

The full text of Sazo-Godinez v. Lynch can be found here: