Satpal Singh v. Matthew Whitaker

NOT FOR PUBLICATION FILED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS JAN 8 2019 MOLLY C. DWYER, CLERK U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT SATPAL SINGH, No. 16-73259 Petitioner, Agency No. A206-098-106 v. MEMORANDUM* MATTHEW G. WHITAKER, Acting Attorney General, Respondent. On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Argued and Submitted December 17, 2018 San Francisco, California Before: GOULD and BERZON, Circuit Judges, and BLOCK,** District Judge. Satpal Singh, a native and citizen of India, petitions for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) denying his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). Singh also petitions for review of the BIA’s order denying his motion to * This disposition is not appropriate for publication and is not precedent except as provided by Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3. ** The Honorable Frederic Block, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York, sitting by designation. reopen proceedings based on materially changed country conditions. We deny the petition. 1. With respect to his asylum and withholding of removal claims, Singh argues that the BIA erred in holding that the government carried its burden of rebutting the presumption of future persecution, because the government had not demonstrated that internal relocation was safe and reasonable. More specifically, he claims that the agency failed to provide an individualized analysis of whether he could safely and reasonably relocate to another part of India. We review the BIA’s decision for substantial evidence. See I.N.S. v. Elias-Zacarias, 502 U.S. 478, 481 (1992). Contrary to Singh’s argument, the BIA did engage in an individualized analysis of whether relocation is safe. It considered the nature of his conflict in his home state, his ability to relocate to the areas in which his family resides, and whether his ethnicity and religious beliefs permitted his safe relocation to Punjab. On the merits, it is doubtful whether Singh could safely relocate to the areas his family resides in, as they are roughly 15- 20 kilometers (around 9-12 miles) away from his home. But there was substantial evidence supporting the BIA’s conclusion that the government met its burden of showing that Singh’s relocating to Punjab, a majority Sikh state, would be safe. 2 In assessing whether internal relocation is reasonable, the agency must consider “whether the applicant would face other serious harm in the place of suggested relocation; any ongoing civil strife; administrative, economic, or judicial infrastructure; geographical limitations; and social and cultural constraints, such as age, gender, health, and social and family ties.” Knezevic v. Ashcroft, 367 F.3d 1206, 1214 (9th Cir. 2004) (citing 8 C.F.R. § 1208.13(b)(3)). The BIA engaged in an individualized analysis as to the reasonableness of relocation. Moreover, the BIA’s finding that Singh could relocate to Punjab was reasonable. Singh is Sikh, the region is predominantly Sikh, and he is young and has farming skills that could be used in Punjab. We therefore conclude that substantial evidence supports the BIA’s finding ...

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