Wenjuan Bao v. William Barr

NOT FOR PUBLICATION FILED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS OCT 22 2020 MOLLY C. DWYER, CLERK U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT WENJUAN BAO, No. 17-71399 Petitioner, Agency No. A205-793-061 v. MEMORANDUM* WILLIAM P. BARR, Attorney General, Respondent. On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Submitted October 19, 2020** Honolulu, Hawaii Before: WALLACE, BEA, and BENNETT, Circuit Judges. Wenjuan Bao, a native and citizen of the People’s Republic of China, seeks review of a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that dismissed her appeal from an Immigration Judge’s (IJ) denial of her application for asylum and withholding of removal. She alleges past persecution and a fear of future persecution * This disposition is not appropriate for publication and is not precedent except as provided by Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3. ** The panel unanimously concludes this case is suitable for decision without oral argument. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(a)(2). due to her involvement with the political movement Falun Gong and a website she created criticizing the Chinese Communist Party. The IJ denied her application based on (1) an adverse credibility finding and (2) Bao’s failure to establish her eligibility for either asylum or withholding of removal, even if credible. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1252 and deny the petition. The BIA reviews an IJ’s factual findings under the clearly erroneous standard. 8 C.F.R. § 1003.1(d)(3)(i). We review the BIA’s decision for substantial evidence. Yali Wang v. Sessions, 861 F.3d 1003, 1007 (9th Cir. 2017). Here, the BIA adopted and affirmed the IJ’s decision and also added its own discussion, citing Matter of Burbano, 20 I. & N. Dec. 872, 874 (BIA 1994). We therefore review the decisions of both the IJ and the BIA. See Joseph v. Holder, 600 F.3d 1235, 1239–40 (9th Cir. 2010). Beginning with the issue of Bao’s credibility, the IJ must consider “the totality of the circumstances,” though it does not matter “whether an inconsistency, inaccuracy, or falsehood goes to the heart of the applicant’s claim.” 8 U.S.C. § 1158(b)(1)(B)(iii). The IJ did so here. Bao told a “much more compelling” story of persecution in her hearing than in her initial application, which failed to mention her mother’s five-day detention, beating, and routine visits by the police, or to include the photos Bao later submitted as evidence of her mother’s injuries. Bao’s testimony was also full of inconsistencies, including the contradiction between her expressed 2 fear of making phone calls to China due to the possibility of government eavesdropping, and her claim that she called a Chinese lawyer to discuss the possible legal ramifications of her conduct. These facts are sufficient to uphold the IJ’s adverse credibility determination. See Lizhi Qiu v. Barr, 944 F.3d 837, 842 (9th Cir. 2019) (“We must uphold an adverse credibility determination ‘so long as even one basis is supported by substantial evidence.’” (citation omitted)). And, as the IJ found, Bao’s prior dishonesty in obtaining her visa—including bringing ...

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