Joel Rivera-Santiago v. Attorney General United States

NOT PRECEDENTIAL UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT _______________ No. 21-2556 _______________ JOEL RIVERA-SANTIAGO, Petitioner v. ATTORNEY GENERAL UNITED STATES OF AMERICA _______________ On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (Agency No. 205-384-081) Immigration Judge: Annie S. Garcy _______________ Submitted Under Third Circuit L.A.R. 34.1(a): May 6, 2022 _______________ Before: CHAGARES, Chief Judge, GREENAWAY, JR., and PORTER, Circuit Judges. (Filed: September 8, 2022) ______________ OPINION ______________  This disposition is not an opinion of the full Court and, under I.O.P. 5.7, is not binding precedent. PORTER, Circuit Judge. Joel Rivera-Santiago, a citizen of Guatemala, petitions for review of a Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) order upholding the denial of his application for relief under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). Substantial evidence supports the BIA’s finding that Rivera-Santiago is not likely to be tortured upon return to Guatemala. So we will deny the petition for review. I Rivera-Santiago entered the United States unlawfully, so the Department of Homeland Security placed him in removal proceedings. 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(6)(A)(i). At his immigration hearing, Rivera-Santiago conceded he was removable and sought asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under CAT. Rivera-Santiago claims that if he returns to Guatemala he will be persecuted and tortured by the 18th Street gang, a criminal organization that he contends operates with the acquiescence of the Guatemalan government. In support, Rivera-Santiago cites threats and violence that he, his girlfriend, and his family have faced in Guatemala. Rivera-Santiago’s former romantic partner, Erika Rodriguez, became involved with 18th Street gang after separating from Rivera-Santiago. She has since harassed Rivera-Santiago and his current girlfriend. Members of the 18th Street gang harassed Rivera-Santiago’s current girlfriend as well, attempting to extort money from her at her workplace and inquiring about Rivera-Santiago’s whereabouts. Three years after Rivera-Santiago separated from Rodriguez, a group of police officers robbed him by threatening to arrest him on false charges if he did not hand over 2 his cell phone, watch, and wallet. Several months later, three people beat and robbed Rivera-Santiago at a bus stop. Rivera-Santiago reported neither incident to the police. He believes both were instigated by Rodriguez and the 18th Street gang, but none of the robbers mentioned Rodriguez or the gang to him. In addition, the 18th Street gang killed two of Rivera-Santiago’s cousins. But Rivera-Santiago admits that their murders have nothing to do with him. The Immigration Judge (“IJ”) denied Rivera-Santiago’s application for asylum as time barred. She denied his application for withholding of removal because Rivera- Santiago had not proven that his life or freedom would be threatened because of his race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. She also denied Rivera-Santiago’s application for CAT relief, holding that Rivera-Santiago had not shown that he would likely be tortured if he returned to Guatemala. The IJ concluded that Rivera-Santiago failed to show that the two robberies he faced were connected, and that, because the robbers had neither threatened continuing harm nor …

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