Vazquez-Guerra v. Garland

Case: 18-60828 Document: 00515957069 Page: 1 Date Filed: 07/29/2021 United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit FILED July 29, 2021 No. 18-60828 Lyle W. Cayce Clerk Edith Nohemi Vazquez-Guerra; Wendy Chantal Barragan-Vazquez, Petitioners, versus Merrick Garland, U.S. Attorney General, Respondent. Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals BIA No. A208 538 244 BIA No. A208 538 791 Before Smith, Graves, and Ho, Circuit Judges. James C. Ho, Circuit Judge: Edith Vazquez-Guerra is a Mexican citizen who seeks asylum and withholding of removal for herself and her minor daughter, Wendy Barragan- Vazquez. Her application expressed a fear that, if she were returned to Mexico, she would be killed or tortured by the Zetas, a Mexican drug cartel, on account of her membership in a particular social group—her immediate family. The Immigration Judge (IJ) and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) determined, inter alia, that Vazquez-Guerra failed to establish a nexus Case: 18-60828 Document: 00515957069 Page: 2 Date Filed: 07/29/2021 No. 18-60828 between either the harm she suffered or her fears of future persecution and her particular social group. The IJ denied her application for asylum and withholding of removal, and the BIA dismissed the appeal. Because Vazquez-Guerra does not demonstrate that substantial evidence compels a different conclusion, we deny her petition for review. I. Vazquez-Guerra first entered the United States illegally in 2006 and subsequently married a lawful permanent resident. While Vazquez-Guerra was living in the United States, her brother was allegedly beaten and kidnapped by the Zetas in front of their mother in June 2013 in Mexico. Vazquez-Guerra returned to Mexico to visit her seriously ill mother in July 2015. Shortly after her return to Mexico, Vazquez-Guerra contacted the city council and police to inquire about the kidnapping and disappearance of her brother. She made three or four inquiries to the authorities about the status of the investigation but, each time, came away empty-handed. She believes that the Zetas ultimately murdered her brother. A few weeks later, in September 2015, masked men from the Zetas forced their way into Vazquez-Guerra’s house while she was sleeping. While pointing guns at her head, the men told her she “needed to quit looking for [her] brother,” threatened that she “would meet his same fate” if she continued investigating, and “warned [her] not to go to police.” Days later, more “armed men” from the Zetas allegedly followed her in a pickup truck while she was in a taxi on her way to meet her daughter. She exited the taxi, “fearing that they thought [she] was going to the downtown police station,” and eluded them in a crowded shopping area. She then fainted, suffered a nervous breakdown and a pre-stroke, and was hospitalized. 2 Case: 18-60828 Document: 00515957069 Page: 3 Date Filed: 07/29/2021 No. 18-60828 During her convalescence, Vazquez-Guerra fled to a neighboring city to hide. But the threats continued. Though she did not experience additional direct encounters with the Zetas, …

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