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United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Rodolfo CENTENO-HEREDIA, Petitioner, v. Merrick B. GARLAND, Attorney General, Respondent.

No. 15-71517

Decided: June 24, 2021

Before: GRABER, FRIEDLAND, and BENNETT, Circuit Judges. Nicholas W. Marchi, Carney & Marchi, PS, Seattle, WA, for Petitioner Michael Christopher Heyse, Trial Attorney, DOJ - U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division - Commercial Litigation Branch, Washington, DC, Chief Counsel ICE, Office of the Chief Counsel, Department of Homeland Security, San Francisco, CA, for Respondent


Rodolfo Centeno-Heredia, a native and citizen of Mexico, petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ order dismissing his appeal from an immigration judge's decision denying his application for withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”).1

We have jurisdiction under 8 U.S.C. § 1252. We review for substantial evidence the agency's factual findings, applying the standards governing adverse credibility determinations under the REAL ID Act. Shrestha v. Holder, 590 F.3d 1034, 1039-40 (9th Cir. 2010). We deny the petition for review.

Substantial evidence supports the agency's adverse credibility determination based on inconsistencies in Centeno-Heredia's testimony and documentary evidence regarding when he purportedly served as a police officer in Mexico. See id. at 1044 (adverse credibility finding must be based on the totality of the circumstances). Centeno-Heredia's explanations do not compel a contrary conclusion. See Zamanov v. Holder, 649 F.3d 969, 974 (9th Cir. 2011) (agency not required to accept explanations for inconsistencies). Additionally, Centeno-Heredia omitted from his asylum application an alleged shooting and his cousin's disappearance. See id. at 973-74 (upholding adverse credibility determination based in part on omissions which “went to the core of [the petitioner's] fear”). In the absence of credible testimony, Centeno-Heredia's withholding of removal claim fails. Farah v. Ashcroft, 348 F.3d 1153, 1156 (9th Cir. 2003).

Even assuming credibility, substantial evidence supports the agency's conclusion that Centeno-Heredia failed to establish that he would be persecuted 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.”).

Substantial evidence also supports the agency's denial of CAT protection because Centeno-Heredia failed to show he would more likely than not be tortured by or with the consent or acquiescence of the government if returned to Mexico. Aden v. Holder, 589 F.3d 1040, 1047 (9th Cir. 2009).



1.   Centeno-Heredia does not challenge the agency's determinations that his asylum application was time-barred and that he failed to establish the requisite continuous physical presence for cancellation of removal.

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