Jesus VASQUEZ MATA, aka Jesus Manuel Vasquez Mata, Petitioner, v. William P. BARR, Attorney General, Respondent.
Decided: December 16, 2019
Before: WALLACE, CANBY, and TASHIMA, Circuit Judges.
Iman Ghasri, Esquire, The Cruz Law Office, San Diego, CA, for Petitioner Rebekah Nahas, DOJ - U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division/Office of Immigration Litigation, Washington, DC, Chief Counsel ICE, Office of the Chief Counsel, Department of Homeland Security, San Francisco, CA, for Respondent
Jesus Vasquez Mata, a native and citizen of Mexico, petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (“BIA”) order dismissing his appeal from an immigration judge’s decision denying his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). Our jurisdiction is governed by 8 U.S.C. § 1252. We review de novo questions of law, Cerezo v. Mukasey, 512 F.3d 1163, 1166 (9th Cir. 2008), except to the extent that deference is owed to the BIA’s interpretation of the governing statutes and regulations, Simeonov v. Ashcroft, 371 F.3d 532, 535 (9th Cir. 2004). We review for substantial evidence the agency’s factual findings. Zehatye v. Gonzales, 453 F.3d 1182, 1184-85 (9th Cir. 2006). We deny in part and dismiss in part the petition for review.
Vasquez Mata does not raise any arguments challenging the agency’s determination that the proposed particular social group of “young males who are being targeted by drug dealers” was not cognizable. See Lopez-Vasquez v. Holder, 706 F.3d 1072, 1079-80 (9th Cir. 2013) (issues not specifically raised and argued in a party’s opening brief are waived).
The BIA did not err in finding that Vasquez Mata’s proposed particular social group of “young males between 18 and 35 who are targeted by drug dealers” was not cognizable. See Reyes v. Lynch, 842 F.3d 1125, 1131 (9th Cir. 2016) (in order to demonstrate membership in a particular group, “[t]he applicant must ‘establish that the group is (1) composed of members who share a common immutable characteristic, (2) defined with particularity, and (3) socially distinct within the society in question’ ” (quoting Matter of M-E-V-G-, 26 I. & N. Dec. 227, 237 (BIA 2014))).
To the extent that Vasquez Mata raises for the first time in his opening brief a particular social group based, in part, on a specific geographic location, the court lacks jurisdiction to review it. See Barron v. Ashcroft, 358 F.3d 674, 677-78 (9th Cir. 2004) (court lacks jurisdiction to review claims not presented to the agency).
Substantial evidence supports the agency’s conclusion that Vasquez Mata otherwise failed to establish he was or would be persecuted on account of a protected ground. See Zetino v. Holder, 622 F.3d 1007, 1016 (9th Cir. 2010) (an applicant’s “desire to be free from harassment by criminals motivated by theft or random violence by gang members bears no nexus to a protected ground”). Thus, Vasquez Mata’s asylum and withholding of removal claims fail.
Vasquez Mata does not raise any arguments challenging the agency’s denial of CAT relief. See Lopez-Vasquez, 706 F.3d at 1079-80.
PETITION FOR REVIEW DENIED in part; DISMISSED in part.
Was this helpful?
Response sent, thank you
Welcome to FindLaw's Cases & Codes
A free source of state and federal court opinions, state laws, and the United States Code. For more information about the legal concepts addressed by these cases and statutes visit FindLaw's Learn About the Law.