Guadalupe Barrera Arreguin v. Merrick B. Garland

United States Court of Appeals For the Eighth Circuit ___________________________ No. 20-2431 No. 21-1659 ___________________________ Guadalupe Barrera Arreguin, et al. lllllllllllllllllllllPetitioners v. Merrick B. Garland, Attorney General of the United States lllllllllllllllllllllRespondent ____________ Petitions for Review of Orders of the Board of Immigration Appeals ____________ Submitted: December 15, 2021 Filed: April 4, 2022 ____________ Before LOKEN, SHEPHERD, and STRAS, Circuit Judges. ____________ LOKEN, Circuit Judge. Guadalupe Barrera Arreguin applied for admission into the United States on behalf of herself and her two minor children, citizens of Mexico, in June 2016. The Department of Homeland Security commenced removal proceedings, charging that they are inadmissable. Barrera Arreguin conceded inadmissibility and applied for asylum, humanitarian asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT protection, claiming persecution on account of her status as an immediate family member of her husband, Arcenio Hinjoza Mendoza (“Arcenio”), a commander in a local auto-defense group formed to fight organized crime in their hometown, the city of Apatzingan, Mexico. The immigration judge (IJ) denied relief after a hearing. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissed Barrera Arreguin’s appeal. She timely petitioned for review. With the petition pending, she moved the BIA to reopen proceedings after two of her brothers-in-law disappeared in Mexico. The BIA denied the motion to reopen, and Barrera Arreguin filed a second petition for review. We consolidated and now deny the two petitions. I. Background Barrera Arreguin testified that Arcenio, a former local police officer, joined the auto-defense group to fight local drug cartels. It was sanctioned as a rural police force by the government of Mexico. A rival group, Los Viagras, became powerful in Apatzingan and turned to organized crime. In September 2014, Los Viagras told Arcenio they would kill his family if the family remained in Apatzingan. They fled to a neighboring town, Buena Vista. Los Viagras burned down their home. After living undisturbed in Buena Vista for several months, Arcenio made a deal with Los Viagras that allowed the family to return to Apatzingan. But after the family returned, Los Viagras resumed its public threatening, driving through town with a megaphone announcing that Arcenio and everyone around him and their animals would be killed if they did not leave Apatzingan. Los Viagras also threatened the family with text messages and in person. In July 2015, Arcenio disappeared after responding to a call to pick up money from a vehicle sale. A fellow commander disappeared at the same time. Barrera Arreguin filed a disappearance report with the local prosecutor. Military officers briefly investigated but discovered nothing. The family continued to live in Apatzingan. They hung up bed sheets in the town square seeking help to find the -2- missing commanders. Police took the bed sheets down. It is still not known whether Arcenio is alive. Barrera Arreguin was never threatened or harmed by anyone in Mexico’s police or military. In June 2016, Barrera Arreguin received a call and a follow-up message from an unknown caller warning that “Chanda,” part of yet another auto-defense group, was behind …

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