Stefan Dancak v. Attorney General United States

NOT PRECEDENTIAL UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT ________________ No. 21-2821 ________________ STEFAN DANCAK, Petitioner v. ATTORNEY GENERAL UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ________________ On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (A201-792-942) Immigration Judge: Pallavi Shirole ________________ Submitted Pursuant to L.A.R. 34.1(a) on July 14, 2022 ________________ Before: GREENAWAY, JR., MATEY, and NYGAARD, Circuit Judges (Opinion filed: August 29, 2022) ________________ OPINION* ________________ GREENAWAY, JR., Circuit Judge * This disposition is not an opinion of the full Court and pursuant to I.O.P. 5.7 does not constitute binding precedent. I. Introduction Petitioner Stefan Dancak seeks review of the denial of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). He argues that the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA” or “Board”) erred because it: (1) concluded that he did not suffer from past persecution the Slovakian government was unable or unwilling to control; (2) concluded that he does not have a well-founded fear of future persecution in Slovakia; and (3) affirmed the Immigration Judge’s denial of protection under CAT. We hold that substantial evidence supports the denial of relief by the Immigration Judge (“IJ”) and subsequent affirmance by the BIA. We will deny this petition for review. II. Background Dancak, a native and citizen of Slovakia, entered the United States on July 4, 2017 on an F-1 student visa. He affirmatively applied for asylum on March 26, 2019. Id. at 20, 550. United States Customs and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) conducted an initial interview with Dancak. USCIS then cancelled his follow-up interview, but issued an employment authorization document. While awaiting a rescheduled follow-up interview, Dancak began working in New York City. Before being notified of his new interview date, however, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Dancak mistakenly believed he could leave the United States. So, he departed for a friend’s home in Mexico City on March 28, 2020 to escape the rising cases in New York City. Once in Mexico, the Mexican government denied Dancak entry, and he returned to New York City. Upon return, the United States detained Dancak at the 2 Elizabeth Detention Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Dancak then applied for “[re]admission.” A.R. 76, 604 (discussing Dancak’s application filed on March 29, 2020). The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) subsequently initiated removal proceedings on April 28, 2020, and issued Dancak a Notice to Appear on May 4, 2020. DHS charged Dancak as removable under Immigration and Nationality Act Section 212(a)(7)(A)(i)(l) for failing to present valid entry documents. Dancak later submitted updated applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT protection on June 11, 2020 and August 10, 2020. In his application, Dancak asserted eligibility for relief based on membership in a particular social group and under CAT. Dancak explained that in Slovakia his father and others in the community subjected him to emotional, psychological, and physical abuse because he was gay. Dancak’s application highlighted how his father would “get intoxicated and scream” in public that “his son …

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