Elder GOMEZ-LOPEZ, Petitioner, v. William P. BARR, Attorney General, Respondent.
Decided: February 07, 2020
Before: FERNANDEZ, SILVERMAN, and TALLMAN, Circuit Judges.
Elder Gomez-Lopez, Pro Se Ray Anthony Ybarra Maldonado, Ybarra Maldonado & Associates, Phoenix, AZ, for Petitioner Christina P. Greer, 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
Elder Gomez-Lopez, a native and citizen of Guatemala, petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (“BIA”) order dismissing his appeal from an immigration judge’s decision denying his application for 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 agency did not err in finding that Gomez-Lopez 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))); see also Barrios v. Holder, 581 F.3d 849, 854-55 (9th Cir. 2009) (holding young Guatemalan men who resist gang recruitment is not a particular social group). To the extent Gomez-Lopez raises a new proposed social group based on characteristics that he did not raise before the agency, we lack jurisdiction to consider 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). Further, substantial evidence supports the agency’s determination that Gomez-Lopez otherwise failed to establish the harm he fears would be 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, Gomez-Lopez’s withholding of removal claim fails.
Substantial evidence also supports the agency’s denial of CAT relief because Gomez-Lopez failed to show it is more likely than not he 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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