Sobura Lasu v. William P. Barr

United States Court of Appeals For the Eighth Circuit ___________________________ No. 18-3550 ___________________________ Sobura Juma Lasu Petitioner v. William P. Barr, Attorney General of the United States Respondent ____________ Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals ____________ Submitted: November 12, 2019 Filed: July 31, 2020 ____________ Before GRUENDER, KELLY, and ERICKSON, Circuit Judges. ____________ GRUENDER, Circuit Judge. Sobura Juma Lasu petitions for review of a final order of removal issued by the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) denying Lasu’s application for deferral of removal under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). We deny the petition. I. Lasu, a native of Egypt and a citizen of South Sudan, was admitted to the United States as a refugee in 2000. Though he was born in Egypt and has never visited South Sudan, Lasu claims derivative membership in the minority Yambara and Pojulu ethnic tribes—the Sudanese tribes of his mother and father, respectively. Lasu was convicted of possession of marijuana in 2016 and of attempt to deliver a controlled substance in 2017, both in violation of Nebraska law. On account of these convictions, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) initiated removal proceedings. In April 2018, the Immigration Judge (“IJ”) found Lasu removable as charged. Lasu applied for refugee adjustment of status, asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the CAT. In May 2018, the IJ denied Lasu’s application for refugee adjustment of status, found that Lasu was ineligible for asylum because he had been convicted of a particularly serious crime, and denied Lasu withholding of removal on the same grounds. But the IJ granted deferral of removal under the CAT because it concluded that Lasu was more likely than not to experience torture in South Sudan, citing Lasu’s membership in an ethnic minority tribe and the ongoing ethnic violence in the country. Though the IJ granted relief under the CAT as to South Sudan, it ordered Lasu deported to Egypt. DHS appealed to the BIA, contesting the IJ’s decision to grant relief under the CAT. The BIA concluded that Lasu had not established that it was more likely than not that he would be tortured by or with the consent of South Sudanese officials. As a result, the BIA reversed the IJ and ordered Lasu removed from the United States. Lasu timely petitioned for review of the BIA’s decision. -2- II. Before turning to the merits of Lasu’s arguments, we must first address whether we have jurisdiction. We are statutorily barred from reviewing any final order of removal against an alien who—like Lasu—is removable by reason of having committed a controlled substance offense except for “constitutional claims or questions of law.” See 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(C)-(D); see also Hanan v. Mukasey, 519 F.3d 760, 763 (8th Cir. 2008). We previously construed this jurisdictional limitation, often called the criminal-alien bar, to apply to CAT claims because we concluded a denial of a deferral of removal under the CAT constituted a final order of removal. See Lovan v. Holder, ...

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