Hasmik Movsesyan v. Jefferson Sessions

NOT FOR PUBLICATION FILED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS MAR 12 2018 MOLLY C. DWYER, CLERK U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT HASMIK MOVSESYAN, No. 15-70573 Petitioner, Agency No. A098-453-147 v. JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS III, MEMORANDUM* Attorney General, Respondent. On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Argued and Submitted February 14, 2018 Pasadena, California Before: BERZON and BYBEE, Circuit Judges, and WOODCOCK,** District Judge. Hasmik Movsesyan appeals the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (“BIA”) dismissal of her appeal of an Immigration Judge’s (“IJ”) decision denying her * This disposition is not appropriate for publication and is not precedent except as provided by Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3. ** The Honorable John A. Woodcock, Jr., United States District Judge for the District of Maine, sitting by designation. application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. This Court reviews each of those denials, as well as adverse credibility determinations, for substantial evidence. Baghdasaryan v. Holder, 592 F.3d 1018, 1022 (9th Cir. 2010) (asylum and withholding of removal); Chawla v. Holder, 599 F.3d 998, 1001 (9th Cir. 2010) (adverse credibility determination); Silaya v. Mukasey, 524 F.3d 1066, 1070 (9th Cir. 2008) (Convention Against Torture). We have jurisdiction pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(1), and we deny Movsesyan’s petition for review. 1. Substantial evidence supports the IJ’s adverse credibility finding. Movsesyan testified inconsistently and vaguely regarding basic facts of claimed harassment by Armenian authorities. These included the number of times she was assaulted, the number of her teeth her assaulters broke, the sequencing of incidents, whether the KGB issued her a death threat, and more. The IJ wrote, Respondent was not a credible witness. Although respondent was not a credible witness, the court does not necessarily disbelieve all of her testimony. However, due to the problems with respondent’s testimony, the court does not know what parts of her testimony to believe. The court accepts that respondent was a practicing Pentecostal in Armenia. The court also is willing to accept that respondent may have had problems with the authorities in Armenia. (citation omitted). Movsesyan contends that this portion of the IJ’s opinion somehow undermines the adverse credibility determination. It does not. Movsesyan cites no 2 authority for the proposition that to make an adverse credibility finding, an IJ must disbelieve all of an alien’s testimony. If left unsure what to believe, an IJ remains free to discredit the alien’s testimony, absent corroboration. Sidhu v. INS, 220 F.3d 1085, 1090 (9th Cir. 2000) (“[8 C.F.R. § 208.13] plainly indicates that if the trier of fact either does not believe the applicant or does not know what to believe, the applicant’s failure to corroborate his testimony can be fatal to his asylum application”). Here, the IJ correctly noted that Movsesyan failed to present background evidence corroborating her claim that Armenian authorities act in some way against Pentecostals. In cases predating the REAL ID Act, Pub. L. 109-13, 119 Stat. 302 (2005), an adverse credibility determination must ...

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