Josue Zeron-Castaneda v. Merrick Garland

NOT FOR PUBLICATION FILED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS AUG 23 2022 MOLLY C. DWYER, CLERK U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT JOSUE MIZRAIM ZERON-CASTANEDA, No. 16-73350 Petitioner, Agency No. A202-084-781 v. MEMORANDUM* MERRICK B. GARLAND, Attorney General, Respondent. On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Submitted July 26, 2022** Pasadena, California Before: PAEZ and WATFORD, Circuit Judges, and BENNETT,*** Senior District Judge. Petitioner Josue Mizraim Zeron-Castaneda (“Castaneda”) is a native and citizen of Guatemala who entered the United States in 2014. Castaneda petitions for * This disposition is not appropriate for publication and is not precedent except as provided by Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3. ** The panel unanimously concludes this case is suitable for decision without oral argument. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(a)(2). *** The Honorable Richard D. Bennett, United States Senior District Judge for the District of Maryland, sitting by designation. review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) upholding the denial of his application for asylum and protection under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). We have jurisdiction under 8 U.S.C. § 1252. We review each issue raised in this petition for substantial evidence, and we deny the petition for review. 1. Credibility: Substantial evidence supports the Immigration Judge’s (“IJ’s”) adverse credibility determination. An adverse credibility determination is a factual finding reviewed for substantial evidence, Yali Wang v. Sessions, 861 F.3d 1003, 1007 (9th Cir. 2017), and is therefore “conclusive unless any reasonable adjudicator would be compelled to conclude to the contrary,” Villavicencio v. Sessions, 904 F.3d 658, 663–64 (9th Cir. 2018) (quoting Young v. Holder, 697 F.3d 976, 981 (9th Cir. 2012) (en banc)). An IJ must consider “the totality of the circumstances, and all relevant factors” when evaluating an applicant’s credibility, 8 U.S.C. § 1158(b)(1)(B)(iii), and must “provide specific and cogent reasons in support of an adverse credibility determination” by referring to “specific instances in the record.” Shrestha v. Holder, 590 F.3d 1034, 1040, 1042–43 (9th Cir. 2010) (quoting Malkandi v. Holder, 576 F.3d 906, 917 (9th Cir. 2009)). In this case, the BIA affirmed the IJ’s adverse credibility finding based on a singular inconsistency: whether Castaneda reported the first death threat to the police. Castaneda claimed in his notarized declaration that he did not take the first threat seriously and “ignored” it, but later testified that he verbally reported the first 2 threat to the local police unit. This inconsistency impacts the sincerity of Castaneda’s fear and is not so trivial as to have “no bearing on [his] veracity.” Cf. id. at 1044. Castaneda failed to articulate a persuasive explanation for this discrepancy, and the agency found that the letters and declarations he offered were inconsistent with his later testimony. As this evidence is not so clear that “any reasonable adjudicator would be compelled to conclude to the contrary,” Villavicencio, 904 F.3d at 663–64. the BIA’s adverse credibility finding is supported by substantial evidence. 2. Likelihood of Persecution: In light of the adverse …

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