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MORALES v. BARR (2020)

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United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Iris Del Carmen MORALES, Petitioner, v. William P. BARR, Attorney General, Respondent.

No. 15-70217

Decided: August 26, 2020

Before: SCHROEDER, TROTT, and SILVERMAN, Circuit Judges. Zulu Ali, Law Office of Zulu Ali, Riverside, CA, for Petitioner Joseph D. Hardy, Trial 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


Iris Del Carmen Morales, a native and citizen of Guatemala, petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (“BIA”) order dismissing her appeal from an immigration judge's (“IJ”) decision denying her applications for asylum, withholding of removal, protection under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”), and cancellation of removal. Morales has not challenged the IJ's ruling concerning her claims for asylum or cancellation of removal in the BIA or in our court. She now seeks only withholding of removal and CAT protection.

We have jurisdiction under 8 U.S.C. § 1252. See Garcia v. Lynch, 798 F.3d 876, 880 (9th Cir. 2015). We review for substantial evidence the agency's factual findings. Zehatye v. Gonzales, 453 F.3d 1182, 1184-85 (9th Cir. 2006). We deny the petition for review.

Substantial evidence supports the agency's conclusion that Morales failed to establish that she would be persecuted on account of a protected ground. See Garcia v. Holder, 749 F.3d 785, 791 (9th Cir. 2014). The record does not compel the conclusion that the BIA erred by determining that the attacks against Morales were opportunistic criminal acts with no nexus to a protected ground. Thus, her withholding of removal claim fails.

Substantial evidence supports the agency's denial of CAT protection because Morales failed to show it is more likely than not she will be tortured by or with the consent or acquiescence of the government if returned to Guatemala. See Zheng v. Holder, 644 F.3d 829, 835-36 (9th Cir. 2011).


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