Diego Rivas-Escobar v. Merrick Garland

NOT FOR PUBLICATION FILED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS AUG 12 2022 MOLLY C. DWYER, CLERK U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT DIEGO RODOLFO RIVAS-ESCOBAR, No. 17-72324 Petitioner, Agency No. A202-149-211 v. MEMORANDUM* MERRICK B. GARLAND, Attorney General, Respondent. On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Submitted August 9, 2022** San Francisco, California Before: RAWLINSON, BADE, and BRESS, Circuit Judges. Diego Rodolfo Rivas-Escobar (Rivas), a citizen of El Salvador, petitions for review of a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision dismissing his appeal of an Immigration Judge (IJ) order denying his applications for asylum, withholding of * This disposition is not appropriate for publication and is not precedent except as provided by Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3. ** The panel unanimously concludes this case is suitable for decision without oral argument. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(a)(2). removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT).1 We review for substantial evidence and may grant relief only if the record compels a contrary conclusion. Sharma v. Garland, 9 F.4th 1052, 1060 (9th Cir. 2021). We have jurisdiction under 8 U.S.C. § 1252 and deny the petition.2 Substantial evidence supports the denial of asylum and withholding of removal. “To be eligible for asylum, a petitioner has the burden to demonstrate a likelihood of ‘persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.’” Sharma, 9 F.4th at 1059 (quoting 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42)(A)). Rivas alleges that, if returned to El Salvador, he will be persecuted because of his membership in a proposed social group consisting of Salvadoran men who have “taken concrete steps to resist and refuse recruitment by a criminal organization.” Even assuming that Rivas’s proposed social group is cognizable, substantial evidence supports the BIA’s conclusion that Rivas has not shown that he took any “concrete step” to resist a criminal organization, and therefore has not shown membership in his proposed social group. 1 The government’s motion for judicial administrative closure, Dkt. No. 44, is denied. See Sarkar v. Garland, 39 F.4th 611, 617–21 (9th Cir. 2022). 2 Before the BIA, Rivas did not challenge the IJ’s denial of CAT protection, nor does he raise that claim here. Any such claim is thus unexhausted and forfeited. See Barron v. Ashcroft, 358 F.3d 674, 678 (9th Cir. 2004); Martinez-Serrano v. INS, 94 F.3d 1256, 1260 (9th Cir. 1996). 2 In addition, even if Rivas could show that he was a member of a cognizable social group, substantial evidence supports the BIA’s determination that Rivas has not established the required nexus between his feared persecution and a protected ground. As the BIA recognized, Rivas’s fears stem from generalized crime and violence in El Salvador, which does not establish a nexus to a protected ground. See Zetino v. Holder, 622 F.3d 1007, 1016 (9th Cir. 2010) (holding that a “desire to be free from harassment by criminals motivated by theft or random violence by gang …

Original document
Source: All recent Immigration Decisions In All the U.S. Courts of Appeals