Leonardo MARTINEZ-ORTIZ, aka Leonardo Martinez-Cesar, Petitioner, v. William P. BARR, Attorney General, Respondent.
Decided: March 10, 2020
Before: MURGUIA, CHRISTEN, and BADE, Circuit Judges.
Douglas D. Nelson, Esquire, Attorney, Douglas D. Nelson, Attorney at Law, San Diego, CA, for Petitioner Chief Counsel ICE, Office of the Chief Counsel, Department of Homeland Security, San Francisco, CA, Jonathan Kevin Ross, Esquire, Trial Attorney, DOJ - U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division/Office of Immigration Litigation, Washington, DC, for Respondent
Leonardo Martinez-Ortiz, 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 withholding of removal and relief under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). We have jurisdiction under 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. Garcia-Milian v. Holder, 755 F.3d 1026, 1031 (9th Cir. 2014). We deny the petition for review.
The BIA did not err in finding that Martinez-Ortiz's proposed social group of “Mexican males who have been subjected to recruitment efforts by a cartel and rejected membership in that cartel” was not cognizable. See Reyes v. Lynch, 842 F.3d 1125, 1131 (9th Cir. 2016) (in order to demonstrate membership in a particular social 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))).
In addition, substantial evidence supports the agency's determination that Martinez-Ortiz failed to establish that he was and will be persecuted on account of a political opinion or his membership in the proposed social group of “a family that has refused recruitment by a cartel.” 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”); see also Ayala v. Holder, 640 F.3d 1095, 1097 (9th Cir. 2011) (even if membership in a particular social group is established, an applicant must still show that “persecution was or will be on account of his membership in such group”); Barrios v. Holder, 581 F.3d 849, 856 (9th Cir. 2009) (finding a political opinion claim failed where petitioner did not present sufficient evidence of political or ideological opposition to the gang's ideals or that the gang imputed a particular political belief to the petitioner).
Thus, Martinez-Ortiz's withholding of removal claim fails.
Substantial evidence also supports the agency's denial of CAT relief because Martinez-Ortiz failed to show that it is more likely than not he would be tortured by or with the consent or acquiescence of the government if returned to Mexico. See Aden v. Holder, 589 F.3d 1040, 1047 (9th Cir. 2009).
PETITION FOR REVIEW DENIED.
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