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United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

CHUNHUA MA, Petitioner, v. Jefferson B. SESSIONS III, United States Attorney General, Respondent.


Decided: February 28, 2018

PRESENT: JOHN M. WALKER, JR., REENA RAGGI, RAYMOND J. LOHIER, JR., Circuit Judges. FOR PETITIONER: Mike P. Gao, Flushing, NY. FOR RESPONDENT: Chad A. Readler, Acting Assistant Attorney General; Daniel E. Goldman, Senior Litigation Counsel; Lindsay C. Dunn, Trial Attorney, Office of Immigration Litigation, United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC.


Petitioner Chunhua Ma, a native and citizen of the People's Republic of China, seeks review of a July 13, 2016, decision of the BIA affirming a February 26, 2015, decision of Immigration Judge (“IJ”) Aviva L. Poczter denying Ma's application for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). In re Chunhua Ma, No. A XXX XX1 584 (B.I.A. July 13, 2016), aff'g No. A XXX XX1 584 (Immig. Ct. N.Y. City Feb. 26, 2015). We assume the parties’ familiarity with the underlying facts and procedural history in this case.

Under the circumstances of this case, we have reviewed both the BIA's and IJ's decisions. See Yun-Zui Guan v. Gonzales, 432 F.3d 391, 394 (2d Cir. 2005) (per curiam). The standards of review are well established. See 8 U.S.C. § 1252(b)(4)(B); Xiu Xia Lin v. Mukasey, 534 F.3d 162, 165-67 (2d Cir. 2008).

The agency may, “[c]onsidering the totality of the circumstances,” base an adverse credibility determination on inconsistencies or omissions in an applicant's oral and written statements and other record evidence. 8 U.S.C. § 1158(b)(1)(B)(iii); Xiu Xia Lin, 534 F.3d at 163-64, 166-67. “We defer ․ to an IJ's credibility determination unless ․ it is plain that no reasonable fact-finder could make such an adverse credibility ruling.” Xiu Xia Lin, 534 F.3d at 167.

The adverse credibility determination in this case is supported by substantial evidence. The agency reasonably relied on inconsistencies between Ma's baptismal certificate and her testimony. 8 U.S.C. § 1158(b)(1)(B)(iii). The fact that she gave different names for her godmother and priest and initially testified that her father was not baptized (contrary to the certificate) calls into question the validity of the certificate and her testimony. Her explanations for the inconsistencies are unavailing as she submitted the certificate and should have been aware of the information it contained. Majidi v. Gonzales, 430 F.3d 77, 80 (2d Cir. 2005) (“A petitioner must do more than offer a plausible explanation for [her] inconsistent statements to secure relief; [s]he must demonstrate that a reasonable fact-finder would be compelled to credit [her] testimony.”) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

Ma's inconsistent testimony regarding her church attendance in Japan also supported the adverse credibility determination because it called into question her religious practice and indicated a willingness to lie. See Siewe v. Gonzales, 480 F.3d 160, 170 (2d Cir. 2007) (“[A] single false document or a single instance of false testimony may (if attributable to the petitioner) infect the balance of the alien's uncorroborated or unauthenticated evidence.”).

The agency also reasonably relied on Ma's omission from her asylum application and initial testimony of physical mistreatment during her 2001 detention. See Xiu Xia Lin, 534 F.3d at 167. Contrary to Ma's argument that she was deprived of any opportunity to develop her testimony, Ma offered a lengthy description of her physical state after her detention and was asked several open-ended questions. See Majidi, 430 F.3d at 80-81.

These inconsistencies and omissions provide substantial evidence for the adverse credibility determination, as they call into question both Ma's religious practice and past events. See Xiu Xia Lin, 534 F.3d at 167. Because Ma's claims were all based on the same factual predicate, the adverse credibility determination is dispositive of asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT relief. Paul v. Gonzales, 444 F.3d 148, 156-57 (2d Cir. 2006).

For the foregoing reasons, the petition for review is DENIED. As we have completed our review, any stay of removal that the Court previously granted in this petition is VACATED, and any pending motion for a stay of removal in this petition is DISMISSED as moot. Any pending request for oral argument in this petition is DENIED in accordance with Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 34(a)(2), and Second Circuit Local Rule 34.1(b).

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