Leonel DELATORRE-GONZALEZ, Petitioner, v. William P. BARR, Attorney General, Respondent.
Decided: May 11, 2020
Before: BERZON, N.R. SMITH, and MILLER, Circuit Judges.
Omar Nakib, Attorney, Law Office of Stephen Coghlan, San Francisco, CA, for Petitioner Chief Counsel ICE, Office of the Chief Counsel, Department of Homeland Security, San Francisco, CA, Jacob Bashyrov, Esquire, DOJ - U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division/Office of Immigration Litigation, Washington, DC, for Respondent
Leonel Delatorre-Gonzalez, 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 agency did not err in finding that Delatorre-Gonzalez 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 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 Delatorre-Gonzalez failed to establish that the harm he fears would be because 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”), see also INS v. Elias-Zacarias, 502 U.S. 478, 483, 112 S.Ct. 812, 117 L.Ed.2d 38 (1992) (an applicant “must provide some evidence of [motive], direct or circumstantial”); Barrios v. Holder, 581 F.3d 849, 856 (9th Cir. 2009) (rejecting political opinion claim 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). Our conclusion is not affected by the differing nexus standards applicable to asylum and withholding of removal claims. Cf. Barajas-Romero v. Lynch, 846 F.3d 351, 360 (9th Cir. 2017) (discussing Zetino having drawn no distinction between the standards where there was no nexus at all between the feared persecution and political opinion).
Thus, Delatorre-Gonzalez’s withholding of removal claim fails.
Delatorre-Gonzalez does not challenge the agency’s denial of CAT relief. See Lopez-Vasquez v. Holder, 706 F.3d 1072, 1079-80 (9th Cir. 2013) (issues not specifically raised and argued in a party’s opening brief are waived). Thus, we deny the petition for review as to his CAT claim.
PETITION FOR REVIEW DENIED.
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