Victoria MARTIN-PEREZ; et al., Petitioners, v. William P. BARR, Attorney General, Respondent.
Decided: December 13, 2019
Before: WALLACE, CANBY, and TASHIMA, Circuit Judges.
Melissa Campos-Castaneda, Esquire, Attorney, Avelar Immigration Law, Federal Way, WA, for Petitioners Chief Counsel ICE, Office of the Chief Counsel, Department of Homeland Security, San Francisco, CA, Lisa Morinelli, Attorney, DOJ - U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division/Office of Immigration Litigation, Washington, DC, for Respondent
Victoria Martin-Perez and her son, natives and citizens of Guatemala, petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (“BIA”) order dismissing their appeal from an immigration judge’s decision denying their 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.
The BIA did not err in finding that petitioners did not establish membership in a cognizable social group. 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))). We lack jurisdiction to consider petitioners’ contention as to their Mam ethnicity as a particular social group because they failed to raise the claim before the BIA. 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 petitioners otherwise failed to establish they were 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, petitioners’ asylum and withholding of removal claims fail.
Substantial evidence also supports the agency’s denial of CAT relief because Martin-Perez failed to show it is more likely than not that she will be tortured by or with the consent or acquiescence of the government if returned to Guatemala. See Aden v. Holder, 589 F.3d 1040, 1047 (9th Cir. 2009); see also Garcia-Milian v. Holder, 755 F.3d 1026, 1033-35 (9th Cir. 2014) (concluding that petitioner did not establish the necessary “state action” for CAT relief).
PETITION FOR REVIEW DENIED in part; DISMISSED in part.
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