Jorge Molina-Cabrera v. Jefferson B. Sessions, III

United States Court of Appeals For the Eighth Circuit ___________________________ No. 17-2227 ___________________________ Jorge Molina-Cabrera lllllllllllllllllllllPetitioner v. Jefferson B. Sessions, III, Attorney General of the United States lllllllllllllllllllllRespondent ____________ Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals ____________ Submitted: June 15, 2018 Filed: October 5, 2018 ____________ Before LOKEN, GRUENDER, and ERICKSON, Circuit Judges. ____________ LOKEN, Circuit Judge. Petitioner Jorge Molina-Cabrera, a native of Ecuador, was apprehended as he entered the United States without a valid entry document and applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture. After an evidentiary hearing, the Immigration Judge (“IJ”) denied relief. The Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) dismissed Molina-Cabrera’s appeal, upholding the IJ’s determination that Molina-Cabrera is ineligible for asylum or withholding of removal because he failed to establish past persecution or a well founded fear of future persecution. Molina-Cabrera petitions for judicial review of the final order of removal. See 8 U.S.C. § 1252.1 We review the Board’s final agency decision, including the IJ’s decision to the extent the BIA adopted the findings or reasoning of the IJ. Garcia-Gonzalez v. Holder, 737 F.3d 498, 500 (8th Cir. 2013). On appeal, Molina-Cabrera “must show that the evidence he presented was so compelling that no reasonable factfinder could fail to find the requisite fear of persecution.” INS v. Elias-Zacarias, 502 U.S. 478, 483-84 (1992). Applying this deferential substantial evidence standard of review, we deny the petition for review. I. Molina-Cabrera testified that on May 1, 2012, Armando Sojos and two bodyguards approached Molina-Cabrera at the school where he taught in Lun, a small town in Ecuador. Sojos was a local municipal politician and the leader of the local chapter of the national political party Alianza PAIS. Sojos said he wanted Molina- Cabrera to join Alianza PAIS and serve as its local secretary. When Molina-Cabrera declined, Sojos threatened him. When Sojos and his bodyguards returned the next day, Molina-Cabrera again refused to join Alianza PAIS. Sojos pushed him to the ground and began kicking him for five to ten minutes, forcing Molina-Cabrera to cover his face and head. When Sojos stopped, the men brought Molina-Cabrera back to his feet, and Sojos warned, “If you know what’s the best for you, you better think about it.” Molina-Cabrera reported the incident to the nearest police department but does not believe the police took any action. Molina-Cabrera saw Sojos and his men approaching Molina-Cabrera’s home on May 3. He fled to Azogues, a much larger city, where he lived and worked for 1 Molina-Cabrera does not challenge the denial of his application for relief under the Convention Against Torture. -2- three weeks. When he returned to Lun, his grandmother said Sojos had come to the house looking for Molina-Cabrera after he fled to Azogues. Molina-Cabrera returned to Azogues, applied for a passport, spent two weeks in Guayaquil, and then left Ecuador. The IJ found Molina-Cabrera’s testimony generally credible. II. The Attorney General has discretion to grant asylum to an alien ...

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