Melisa Chavez-Perez v. Merrick B. Garland

United States Court of Appeals For the Eighth Circuit ___________________________ No. 20-2711 ___________________________ Melisa Sorayda Chavez-Perez lllllllllllllllllllllPetitioner v. Merrick B. Garland, Attorney General of the United States1 lllllllllllllllllllllRespondents ____________ Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals ____________ Submitted: April 15, 2021 Filed: June 9, 2021 [Unpublished] ____________ Before LOKEN, WOLLMAN, and STRAS, Circuit Judges. ____________ PER CURIAM. 1 Attorney General Garland is substituted as respondent under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 43(c)(2). Melisa Sorayda Chavez-Perez petitions for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which dismissed her appeal from an immigration judge’s (IJ’s) decision denying asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). We deny the petition for review. Chavez-Perez was born and reared in San Marcos, Guatemala. Her father left for the United States when she was an infant, and her mother died when she was twelve. Chavez-Perez lived in San Marcos with her two sisters, two nephews, and one brother-in-law until she fled for the United States in August 2017 at the age of seventeen. Chavez-Perez testified that her friend Mariana was kidnapped and murdered in 2017. Townspeople suspected that the local leader of the MS-13 gang, a man named Dario, was responsible for Mariana’s death. Although Mariana’s parents filed a police report, her killer was never apprehended. Chavez-Perez learned that Dario had followed Mariana before her disappearance. After Chavez-Perez left a store on April 5, 2017, Dario followed her, saying that he was going to kidnap and kill her. He called out to his friends, but Chavez- Perez ran to a neighbor’s home and hid until the men left the area. Chavez-Perez testified that Dario followed and threatened her for the next two months because she was a “good looking girl” and a “minor.” She explained that Dario threatened girls even if they lived with their families or fathers. No one reported Dario’s conduct to the police, despite his harassment of Chavez-Perez and other girls. Believing that Dario eventually would follow through on his threats, Chavez- Perez left Guatemala for the United States. Since then, neither Dario nor anyone else from the MS-13 gang has tried to locate her, gone to her home in Guatemala, or threatened her family members. -2- After Chavez-Perez entered the United States, the Department of Homeland Security issued her a notice to appear, charging that she was subject to removal. Chavez-Perez admitted that she was removable, but filed an application for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the CAT. Although the IJ found Chavez-Perez to be credible, he denied her application and ordered her removal. The IJ concluded that Dario’s threats and harassment did not rise to the level of harm required to constitute persecution; that Chavez-Perez’s alleged social groups were not sufficiently particular or socially distinct; and that even if they were, any fear of persecution was not on account of her membership in those groups. The IJ further concluded that Chavez-Perez could not meet the more …

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