Miguel Lopez-Perez v. Attorney General United States

NOT PRECEDENTIAL UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT ___________ No. 21-3288 ___________ MIGUEL ANGEL LOPEZ-PEREZ, Petitioner v. ATTORNEY GENERAL UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ____________________________________ On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (Agency No. A206-766-430) Immigration Judge: Steven A. Morley ____________________________________ Submitted Pursuant to Third Circuit L.A.R. 34.1(a) October 7, 2022 Before: HARDIMAN, SHWARTZ, and NYGAARD, Circuit Judges (Opinion filed: November 1, 2022) ___________ OPINION * __________ * This disposition is not an opinion of the full Court and pursuant to I.O.P. 5.7 does not constitute binding precedent. NYGAARD, Circuit Judge. Miguel Angel Lopez-Perez petitions for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals finding him ineligible for asylum and withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act and denying his application for deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture. We will deny the petition. I. In May 2014, Petitioner Miguel Angel Lopez-Perez, a citizen of Guatemala, entered the United States at the age of 16 without inspection. He filed an application for asylum and withholding of removal under sections 208 and 241(b)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1158 and 1231(b)(3), and sought protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). 8 C.F.R. § 208.16(c). He claimed membership in two particular social groups (PSGs): (1) “young Guatemalan males threatened for recruitment by gangs”; and (2) “young Guatemalan males who reject gangs because of Evangelical faith.” AR 44. The Immigration Judge (IJ) denied all relief. The IJ found that Lopez-Perez failed to establish past persecution. When he was a child, gang members had him deliver packages for them. Once, when he refused, he was beaten up, causing a cut on his forehead. At other times, gang members threatened to harm him or his family if he rebuffed them. The IJ determined that, even when considered in totality with the single physical altercation, the threats were insufficient to show past persecution because they were not concrete or imminent, but always conditional. The IJ also found the evidence insufficient to conclude that Lopez-Perez presently faced a well-founded fear of future 2 persecution merely because as a young teenager he had been threatened for recruitment by gangs. Indeed, when he testified before the IJ, he was nearly 22 years old, and the gangs had stayed away when he was with an adult. His basis for fear of persecution, then, amounted to a general fear of gang violence, which is an insufficient basis for asylum. The IJ also found no nexus between being a young Evangelical Christian who rejects gangs and persecution, because there was no evidence the gangs had ever harmed or threatened Lopez-Perez due to his faith. At most, he testified that he felt uncomfortable and that people “didn’t care” about his religious beliefs and proselytizing. AR 222. The IJ concluded that on this PSG or as an independent claim of religion-based asylum, he failed to meet his burden of proof to show that he faced a …

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