Elmer Portillo-Solis v. Jeffrey Rosen

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PUBLICATION File Name: 21a0020n.06 Case No. 20-3377 UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT FILED Jan 11, 2021 ELMER NEFTALI PORTILLO-SOLIS, ) DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk ) Petitioner, ) ) ON PETITION FOR REVIEW v. ) FROM THE UNITED STATES ) BOARD OF IMMIGRATION JEFFREY A. ROSEN, Acting Attorney General, ) APPEALS ) Respondent. ) BEFORE: SUHRHEINRICH, CLAY, and DONALD, Circuit Judges. BERNICE B. DONALD, Circuit Judge. Elmer Neftali Portillo-Solis seeks review of an order by the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) affirming an Immigration Judge’s (“IJ”) denial of his applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). Because Portillo-Solis has failed to meet his burden of proof for each claim, we DENY his petition. I. BACKGROUND Elmer Neftali Portillo-Solis is a native and citizen of El Salvador. He is married to Dilcia Arely Gomez-Medrano, who also is a native and citizen of El Salvador. The couple married in the United States on December 17, 2016. Portillo-Solis and Gomez-Medrano entered the United States near Sasabe, Arizona, on September 4, 2015, without inspection. Case No. 20-3377, Portillo-Solis v. Rosen On September 23, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security initiated removal proceedings against Portillo-Solis. The IJ held a hearing on November 23, 2015 and established removability for Portillo-Solis. That same day, Portillo-Solis filed an application for asylum under 8 U.S.C. § 1158, withholding of removal under 8 U.S.C. § 1231(b)(3), and protection under the CAT under 8 C.F.R. §§ 1208.160-1208.18. The IJ held an individual hearing on April 10, 2018, considered all the evidence and testimony, and determined that Portillo-Solis was ineligible for relief from removal. In support of his applications, Portillo-Solis claimed that in 2014 and 2015, members of the MS-13 criminal gang tried to extort money from him, and that he experienced other threats of violence in El Salvador. Portillo-Solis testified before the IJ that gang members came to his and Gomez-Medrano’s house demanding money from Gomez-Medrano. He also testified that gang members beat her on the face, back, and legs, and that she gave the gang members $150.00. This continued and Gomez-Medrano had to give more money and food to the gang members. According to Portillo-Solis, on June 14, 2015, his neighbors came to his house to seek refuge because gang members abducted their father and three children. Portillo-Solis also stated that he feared he would be subjected to future violence by the gangs due to his religious identity as an Evangelical Christian. During cross-examination, Portillo- Solis asserted that MS-13 gang members who came to his home and took $150 “knew him” but he could not confirm that they were aware of his religious beliefs prior to this robbery. He further stated that gang members asked him and Gomez-Medrano to store weapons in his home and to transport drugs for them because, due to his religious beliefs, he would be less suspicious. The IJ determined that the claim lacked a motivational nexus to his religion, and the BIA ...

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