Dinora Ortega Morales v. U.S. Attorney General

Case: 18-10598 Date Filed: 10/18/2018 Page: 1 of 14 [DO NOT PUBLISH] IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT ________________________ No. 18-10598 Non-Argument Calendar ________________________ Agency No. A205-675-190 DINORA ORTEGA MORALES, Petitioner, versus U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL, Respondent. ________________________ Petition for Review of a Decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals ________________________ (October 18, 2018) Before WILSON, JORDAN, and ROSENBAUM, Circuit Judges. PER CURIAM: Case: 18-10598 Date Filed: 10/18/2018 Page: 2 of 14 Dinora Ortega Morales seeks review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (“BIA”) decision denying her motion to reopen removal proceedings based on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. The BIA denied the motion to reopen because it was untimely and because Morales had not established a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s errors, the outcome of her removal proceedings would have been different. After careful review, we deny the petition for review. I. Morales, a native and citizen of Honduras, entered the United States in June 2012 on a six-month tourist visa. She hired an attorney, Teresa Martinez-Alonso, and then filed an application for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention against Torture (“CAT”) in October 2012. Morales sought asylum and withholding of removal based on her nationality and membership in a particular social group. In an addendum to her application, Morales explained that she had fled Honduras because she was being targeted and threatened by individuals who had killed her brother after he found out about corrupt practices at his place of work, the National Port Company (“NPC”), which was a government entity in charge of commercial importation and exportation of freight. An asylum officer interviewed Morales and her husband and denied the asylum application. Her visa expired in December 2012 and, shortly thereafter, 2 Case: 18-10598 Date Filed: 10/18/2018 Page: 3 of 14 Morales was issued a Notice to Appear charging her as removable for having overstayed her visa. Morales conceded removability and presented her applications for relief to an Immigration Judge (“IJ”), who held a merits hearing in January 2014 at which Morales was represented by Martinez-Alonso. Morales and her husband both testified at the hearing. They explained that they had owned a telecommunications and security business in Honduras before fleeing to the United States following the murder of Morales’s brother. According to their testimony, Morales’s brother worked as a truck driver for a company that handled the delivery of shipping containers for the NPC. The company was owned by René Maradiaga Panchamé, the sub-director of the Honduran National Police. At some point, Morales’s brother found out that the company was importing and exporting contraband through the port. He began to fear for his life, and he told Morales to stay away from him so she would not be connected with him. On January 1, 2011, a man followed Morales’s brother to the Moraleses’ home and then spoke with her husband. This man, referred to by Morales and her husband as the “coyote,” said he oversaw drug shipments ...

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