Aurelia Santacruz v. Attorney General United States

NOT PRECEDENTIAL UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT _____________ No. 21-1582 _____________ AURELIA ALEJANDRES SANTACRUZ; WILBER SOLORIO ALEJANDRES, Petitioners v. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA _______________ On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (A209-167-344 & A209-167-345) Immigration Judge: John B. Carle _______________ Submitted Under Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) May 25, 2022 Before: KRAUSE, PHIPPS, Circuit Judges and STEARNS *, District Judge. (Filed: June 23, 2022) _______________ OPINION ∗∗ _______________ * Honorable Richard G. Stearns, United States District Court Judge for the District of Massachusetts, sitting by designation. ∗∗ This disposition is not an opinion of the full court and, pursuant to I.O.P. 5.7, does not constitute binding precedent. STEARNS, District Judge. Petitioners Aurelia Alejandres Santacruz and her minor son, who are natives and citizens of Mexico, arrived in the United States in June of 2016 without valid entry documents. They now appeal a final removal order of the Board of Immigration Appeals. We have jurisdiction under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a). We review the Board’s legal conclusions de novo, see Cheruku v. Att’y Gen., 662 F.3d 198, 202 (3d Cir. 2011), and “we must regard all determinations about facts grounding the final order as ‘conclusive unless any reasonable adjudicator would be compelled to conclude to the contrary.’” Mendoza- Ordonez v. Att’y Gen., 869 F.3d 164, 169 (3d Cir. 2017) (quoting 8 U.S.C § 1252(b)(4)(B)). The petition arises against the backdrop of a power struggle between two drug cartels based in the Michoacán State— La Familia Michoacán and Jalisco Nueva Generacion—battling for control of the drug trade in the area where petitioner lived before coming to the United States. Petitioner Alejandres had joined El Timbrichi, a ranching collective consisting of some two hundred farming households. On June 9, 2016, Alejandres witnessed a deadly shootout between members of the rival gangs. Although Alejandres was not personally threatened (nor were members of her family), she feared for her continuing safety. She left for the United States with her son and applied for asylum, claiming that she was being persecuted by partisans of the Jalisco gang, with the acquiescence of the Mexican government, because of her membership in a social group, El Timbrichi. She also sought withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). 2 The Board determined that Alejandres’s experience, while “regrettable,” did not rise to the level of persecution. App. 19. Further, to the extent that the ranching community constituted a social group, she was unable to establish that her membership in the collective was “at least one central reason” for her fear of harm. The Board found that there was no evidence that “either of the rival groups intended then or now . . . to specifically harm [Alejandres] . . . .” Id. The Board also concluded that she had not established that she and her son could not safely relocate to another area of Mexico, as her mother and in-laws were living safely elsewhere in …

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