Edwin Alvarenga v. Attorney General United States

NOT PRECEDENTIAL UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT _____________ No. 21-3110 _____________ EDWIN ALVARENGA, Petitioner v. ATTORNEY GENERAL UNITED STATES OF AMERICA _______________ On Petition for Review of a Decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (A087-944-055) Immigration Judge: Mirlande Tadal _______________ Argued July 13, 2022 Before: GREENAWAY, JR., MATEY, and RENDELL, Circuit Judges. (Filed: September 19, 2022) Jordan Weiner [ARGUED] American Friends Service Committee Immigrant Rights Program 570 Broad Street Suite 1001 Newark, NJ 07102 Counsel for Petitioner Merrick B. Garland Brian M. Boynton Kiley Kane Andrea N. Gevas [ARGUED] United States Department of Justice Office of Immigration Litigation P.O. Box 878 Ben Franklin Station Washington, DC 20044 Counsel for Respondent _______________ OPINION _______________ MATEY, Circuit Judge. Petitioner Edwin Alvarenga is subject to removal but claims Convention Against Torture (“CAT”) protection citing the threat of gang violence in El Salvador. But the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) denied his claim based on substantial evidence, and so we must deny his petition. I. Alvarenga illegally entered the United States from El Salvador in 1995 and settled in New Jersey. There, he met a Salvadoran drug dealer and MS-13 gang member named Inmar Mendoza.1 Alvarenga began working for Inmar delivering narcotics and was arrested. He cooperated with police and later testified against Inmar, leading to convictions against Inmar and two of his associates. While imprisoned for his own role in the scheme, Alvarenga was visited by Inmar’s brother who blamed Alvarenga for Inmar’s arrest and  This disposition is not an opinion of the full Court and, under I.O.P. 5.7, does not constitute binding precedent. 1 Inmar Mendoza is referred to interchangeably throughout the administrative record as “Pirate” and “Inmar.” 2 warned him to “be careful.” A.R. 203. Shortly afterward, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) removed Alvarenga to El Salvador. A week after Alvarenga arrived in El Salvador, armed MS-13 members came to his home and threatened punishment for cooperating against Inmar. Alvarenga soon fled, reentering the United States and returning to a town near his old neighborhood in New Jersey. There, Inmar cornered Alvarenga as he got out of his car and threatened him at knifepoint. Nothing came of these threats, but Alvarenga soon faced a new criminal investigation. Once more, Alvarenga offered cooperation. This time, he helped catch “El Doctor,” a drug dealer he met through Inmar. Facing removal for a second time, Alvarenga sought protection fearing that, if he is deported to El Salvador, MS-13 members will finally make good on their threats. An Immigration Judge (“IJ”) denied Alvarenga’s application, finding insufficient evidence of likely torture. On appeal, the BIA upheld the IJ’s decision. Finding no errors within our limited scope of review, we will deny this petition.2 II. To qualify for relief under CAT, Alvarenga bears the burden of proving that “it is more likely than not that he . . . would be tortured” in El Salvador. 8 C.F.R. § 1208.16(c)(2). 2 The BIA had jurisdiction under 8 C.F.R. § 1208.31(g)(2)(ii) and …

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