Candelaria Jose-Tomas v. William Barr

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PUBLICATION File Name: 20a0447n.06 Case No. 19-4157 UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT FILED Jul 31, 2020 CANDELARIA JOSÉ-TOMÁS, ) DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk ) Petitioner, ) ) ON PETITION FOR REVIEW v. ) FROM THE BOARD OF ) IMMIGRATION APPEALS WILLIAM P. BARR, Attorney General, ) ) Respondent. ) ) BEFORE: BOGGS, SUTTON, and WHITE, Circuit Judges HELENE N. WHITE, Circuit Judge. Petitioner Candelaria José-Tomás seeks review of a final order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the decision of the Immigration Judge (IJ) denying her request for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Because the conclusions of the IJ and BIA were supported by substantial evidence, we deny José-Tomás’s petition for review. I. Background José-Tomás is a citizen and native of Guatemala. She is a member of the Acatec people and prefers to speak Acateco, a Mayan language most common in the Huehuetenango Department of Guatemala. According to her Notice to Appear (NTA), José-Tomás “arrived in the United States at or near Hidalgo, Texas, on or about June 27, 2014” without being admitted or paroled. A.R. 387. She entered the United States at the age of seventeen as an unaccompanied minor. Nos. 19-4157, José-Tomás v. Barr At a hearing on July 16, 2015, the IJ “sustain[ed] the charge under Section 212(a)(6)(A)(i) of the Act, based on the fact that she’s admitted she’s a native and citizen of Guatemala.” A.R. 170. Because José-Tomás had filed an application for asylum, which was still pending before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the IJ rescheduled the proceedings. José-Tomás subsequently filed a motion, which the IJ granted, to administratively close her proceedings pending adjudication of her asylum application. On March 28, 2017, USCIS issued its decision that José-Tomás was ineligible for asylum. The Department of Homeland Security then filed a motion to recalendar proceedings and the IJ scheduled a hearing on the merits for March 12, 2018. At the hearing, counsel identified José-Tomás’s particular social group as “single indigenous Guatemalan females.” A.R. 178. José-Tomás testified that she lives with her mother in Cookeville, Tennessee, and that she has three brothers, one sister, an uncle, and aunts in the United States. Her grandparents and an aunt remain in Chimba, Guatemala. At the time of the hearing, Jose-Tomas was pregnant and expected to give birth the following month. When asked about harm experienced in Guatemala, José-Tomás explained that she was sexually assaulted: “I was 12 years old when individuals came and then mistreat me. . . . They, they approach me and then they, they were touching me, they were touching my parts and then they also touched one of my friends.” A.R. 182. She testified that the incident “happened close to a church on December 24, 2009” and that she was “at church for Christmas service. . . . [w]ith [her] aunt.” A.R. 183. The individuals who assaulted her “were waiting near like the church, not inside ...

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