Wilson Lopez-Lopez v. Merrick B. Garland

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PUBLICATION File Name: 22a0032n.06 Case No. 21-3465 UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT FILED Jan 19, 2022 ) DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk WILSON LOPEZ-LOPEZ, ) Petitioner, ) ) ON PETITION FOR REVIEW v. ) FROM THE UNITED STATES ) BOARD OF IMMIGRATION MERRICK B. GARLAND, Attorney General, ) APPEALS Respondent. ) ) OPINION ) Before: SILER, COLE, and NALBANDIAN, Circuit Judges. NALBANDIAN, Circuit Judge. Wilson Lopez-Lopez, a native and citizen of Cuba, seeks review of a Board of Immigration Appeals order denying his application for asylum. Because substantial evidence supports the Board’s order, we deny his petition. I. On May 22, 2019, Lopez-Lopez, a Cuban native, arrived at the Havana airport and boarded a flight bound for Nicaragua. From there, he traveled through Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, eventually making his way to the United States. After Lopez-Lopez presented himself at the border, he was sent back to Mexico to await immigration proceedings. But Lopez-Lopez never made it to his hearing. Instead, he crossed the border unlawfully and headed north to Canada. But the Canadian government returned Lopez-Lopez to the United States, where he was detained. Lopez-Lopez then applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and Convention Against Torture (CAT) relief. No. 21-3465, Lopez-Lopez v. Garland During Lopez-Lopez’s hearing before an Immigration Judge (IJ), he described the difficulties he faced in Cuba as a political dissident and private-business owner. Lopez-Lopez opened his first pizzeria in Holguín, a province and city in Cuba, between 2011 and 2013. Around the same time, Lopez-Lopez says he became an outspoken opponent of communism. According to Lopez-Lopez, this led the local police to start harassing him. They audited him twice, searched his pizzeria once, levied fines, and threatened to make him disappear. But the tipping point came in 2017 when one officer, Osmani, hit Lopez-Lopez over the head with a club. Lopez-Lopez had to visit a hospital for treatment, receiving stiches to close the wound. Soon after the incident with Osmani, Lopez-Lopez relocated to Havana. There he opened a new pizzeria. For a time, he kept the Holguín pizzeria open too—only shuttering the business after a supply shortage forced him to close its doors. The pizzeria in Havana fared better. Lopez- Lopez managed to get it up and running only one or two months after relocating. And local police no longer fined him. But the situation deteriorated again in the spring of 2019. Lopez-Lopez recounts that he received a visit from Osmani, who reportedly traveled 14 hours by bus to visit him in Havana. When Osmani stopped by Lopez-Lopez’s new pizzeria, he warned him not to attend Cuba’s Labor Day celebrations. When Lopez-Lopez retorted that he didn’t plan to go, Osmani hit him on his back. This time, Lopez-Lopez didn’t seek medical help. And he admitted he wasn’t bothered by the police again. Still, the second encounter with Osmani proved to be Lopez-Lopez’s breaking point. He decided to leave Cuba. And he shortly closed the pizzeria, obtained a Nicaraguan visa, and …

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Source: All recent Immigration Decisions In All the U.S. Courts of Appeals