The Fourth Circuit has upheld the denial of an asylum claim based on family membership, finding that the petitioner was threatened because of a personal dispute with her mother-in-law (who wanted custody of her minor child) and not on account of her family ties. In so doing, the court distinguished its prior precedent regarding family-based asylum claims.
"Although the familial relationships at issue in Hernandez-Avalos and the present case involve a mother’s relationship with her son, this case is unlike Hernandez-Avalos in critical respects. In Hernandez-Avalos, a non-familial third party persecuted the petitioner because of her family association for the purpose of gang recruitment. In contrast, Velasquez had a long-standing personal disagreement with Estrada over a solely personal conflict regarding D.A.E.V. Estrada’s persecution of Velasquez was only between the two of them—that is, merely incidental to Estrada’s desire to obtain custody of D.A.E.V."
The full text of Valesquez v. Sessions can be found here: