Zhiguang LIANG, Petitioner, v. William P. BARR, Attorney General, Respondent.
Decided: October 19, 2020
Before: M. SMITH and LEE, Circuit Judges, and CARDONE,** District Judge.
Thomas J. Tarigo, Esquire, Attorney, Law Offices of Thomas J. Tarigo, Los Angeles, CA, for Petitioner Chief Counsel ICE, Office of the Chief Counsel, Department of Homeland Security, San Francisco, CA, Raya Jarawan, Esquire, Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, Anthony Cardozo Payne, Senior Litigation Counsel, DOJ - U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division/Office of Immigration Litigation, Washington, DC, for Respondent
Zhiguang Liang, a native and citizen of China, petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeal's decision affirming an Immigration Judge's denial of asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). We have jurisdiction under 8 U.S.C. § 1252, and we deny the petition.
We review the denial of asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT relief for substantial evidence. See Silva-Pereira v. Lynch, 827 F.3d 1176, 1184 (9th Cir. 2016). Under this standard, we may grant Liang's petition only if “the evidence not only supports a contrary conclusion, but compels it.” Id. (citation omitted).
Substantial evidence supports the BIA's decision to affirm the Immigration Judge's adverse credibility determination, which was based on numerous inconsistencies and implausible statements throughout Liang's testimony. These testimonial deficiencies, which find support in the record, undermine Liang's core claim that he was persecuted for practicing Christianity in China. See Shrestha v. Holder, 590 F.3d 1034, 1046-47 (9th Cir. 2010) (“Although inconsistencies no longer need to go to the heart of the petitioner's claim, when an inconsistency is at the heart of the claim it doubtless is of great weight.”); Rivera v. Mukasey, 508 F.3d 1271, 1275 (9th Cir. 2007) (repeated inconsistencies, “particularly when viewed cumulatively, deprive [a petitioner's] claim of the requisite ‘ring of truth’ ”) (quoting Kaur v. Gonzales, 418 F.3d 1061, 1067 (9th Cir. 2005)).
In the absence of his discredited testimony, the record lacks sufficient evidence for Liang to establish that: (1) he “has suffered past persecution or has a well-founded fear of future persecution,” Zehatye v. Gonzales, 453 F.3d 1182, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006); (2) “it is more likely than not that he would be subject to persecution on one of the specified grounds” for withholding of removal, id. at 1190 (citation omitted); or (3) “it is more likely than not that he [ ] would be tortured if removed to the proposed country of removal,” Go v. Holder, 640 F.3d 1047, 1053 (9th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted). The BIA thus did not err in affirming the denial of asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT relief.
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