Miguel Diaz-Torres v. William Barr

FOR PUBLICATION UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT MIGUEL DIAZ-TORRES, Nos. 18-70141 Petitioner, 18-72700 v. Agency No. A089-247-266 WILLIAM P. BARR, Attorney General, Respondent. OPINION On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Submitted March 2, 2020 * Seattle, Washington Filed June 29, 2020 Before: Sandra S. Ikuta, Ryan D. Nelson, and Danielle J. Hunsaker, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge R. Nelson * The panel unanimously concludes this case is suitable for decision without oral argument. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(a)(2). 2 DIAZ-TORRES V. BARR SUMMARY ** Immigration Denying a petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ denial of asylum and withholding of removal, the panel held that petitioner had not met his burden of establishing that his proposed social groups comprised of “Mexican professionals who refuse to cooperate with drug cartels” and “agronomists who refuse to help cultivate drugs” are socially distinct. The panel explained that nothing in this record addresses whether Mexican society views either of petitioner’s proposed social groups as distinct. For instance, no laws or proposed legislation, nor any country conditions reports or news articles, mention such a group. To the contrary, the evidence painted a picture of all segments of the Mexican population being adversely affected by the brutality of drug cartels. In addition, the panel explained that the expert testimony in this case did not bridge the gap to establish that Mexican society views petitioner’s proposed groups as distinct, but rather indicated that almost anybody can be targeted by the drug cartels. The panel also concluded that petitioner’s testimony was insufficient to establish social distinction, because although some of his testimony indicated that cartel members view individuals like petitioner as targets for extortion or violence, it did not establish how society in general views ** This summary constitutes no part of the opinion of the court. It has been prepared by court staff for the convenience of the reader. DIAZ-TORRES V. BARR 3 his proposed groups. The panel explained that the view of an applicant’s persecutors does not inform the social distinction inquiry except to the extent it is indicative of whether society views the group as distinct. The panel further explained that an applicant’s testimony alone is insufficient to establish the social distinction of a proposed group unless he satisfies the trier of fact that his testimony is credible, is persuasive, and refers to specific facts sufficient to demonstrate that the proposed group is socially distinct. Moreover, the panel stated that the social distinction inquiry encompasses principles that will ordinarily demand some type of corroborative, objective evidence. Because there was no such evidence here, the panel held that substantial evidence supported the Board’s conclusion that petitioner failed to establish that his purported groups were socially distinct. The panel addressed petitioner’s remaining claims, and the denial of his motion to reopen, in a concurrently filed memorandum disposition. COUNSEL Bernice Funk, Law Office of Bernice Funk, Seattle, Washington, for Petitioner. Mona Maria Yousif, Trial ...

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