Armando TOPETE SANCHEZ, Petitioner, v. William P. BARR, Attorney General, Respondent.
Decided: April 14, 2020
Before: TASHIMA, BYBEE, and WATFORD, Circuit Judges.
Omar Nakib, Attorney, Law Office of Stephen Coghlan, San Francisco, CA, for Petitioner Benjamin Mark Moss, Esquire, Senior Litigation Counsel, 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
Armando Topete Sanchez, 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”). 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.
Substantial evidence supports the agency’s determination that Topete Sanchez failed to establish the harm he experienced in Mexico was 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”). The BIA did not err in finding that Topete Sanchez’s proposed returnee-based social group 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))); see also Barbosa v. Barr, 926 F.3d 1053, 1059-60 (9th Cir. 2019) (finding that individuals returning to Mexico from the United States who are believed to be wealthy does not constitute a particular social group). To the extent Topete Sanchez raises in his opening brief a particular social group based, in part, on gender, 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). Thus, Topete Sanchez’s withholding of removal claim fails.
Substantial evidence supports the agency’s denial of CAT relief because Topete Sanchez 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 Mexico. See Aden v. Holder, 589 F.3d 1040, 1047 (9th Cir. 2009).
PETITION FOR REVIEW DENIED in part; DISMISSED in part.
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