Agustin SANTIAGO-MARTINEZ, Petitioner, v. William P. BARR, Attorney General, Respondent.
Decided: April 10, 2020
Before: TASHIMA, BYBEE, and WATFORD, Circuit Judges.
Cornell Eugene Kirby, Law Office of Cornell Kirby, Seattle, WA, for Petitioner Jennifer A. Singer, Laura Halliday Hickein, Attorney, 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
Agustin Santiago-Martinez, 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 applications for asylum, 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.
In his opening brief, Santiago-Martinez does not make any arguments challenging the agency’s dispositive conclusion that his asylum application was untimely, and that he failed to establish changed or extraordinary circumstances. See Martinez-Serrano v. INS, 94 F.3d 1256, 1259 (9th Cir. 1996) (“Issues raised in a brief that are not supported by argument are deemed abandoned.”).
The agency did not err in finding that Santiago-Martinez failed to 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 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))); see also Delgado-Ortiz v. Holder, 600 F.3d 1148, 1151-52 (9th Cir. 2010) (concluding “returning Mexicans from the United States” was overbroad and did not constitute a particular social group).
Substantial evidence supports the agency’s determination that Santiago-Martinez otherwise failed to demonstrate that the harm he fears in Mexico 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, Santiago-Martinez’s withholding of removal claim fails.
Substantial evidence also supports the agency’s denial of CAT relief because Santiago-Martinez failed to show 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 Wakkary v. Holder, 558 F.3d 1049, 1067-68 (9th Cir. 2009) (no likelihood of torture).
PETITION FOR REVIEW DENIED.
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