Kumar v. Garland

Case: 20-60712 Document: 00516480039 Page: 1 Date Filed: 09/21/2022 United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit FILED September 21, 2022 No. 20-60712 Lyle W. Cayce Clerk Pardeep Kumar, Petitioner, versus Merrick Garland, U.S. Attorney General, Respondent. Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals BIA No. A201 680 166 Before Jones, Southwick, and Oldham, Circuit Judges. Leslie H. Southwick, Circuit Judge: Pardeep Kumar petitions for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals. The order dismissed his appeal of an Immigration Judge’s denials of his claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. He presents several procedural and substantive challenges on appeal. We DISMISS his petition for review in part and DENY it in part. Case: 20-60712 Document: 00516480039 Page: 2 Date Filed: 09/21/2022 No. 20-60712 FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND Pardeep Kumar, a native and citizen of India, entered the United States without inspection in January 2019. On January 21, 2019, an asylum officer conducted a credible fear interview with Kumar and found that he had a credible fear of persecution if he returned to India. The asylum officer then referred his case to an immigration judge (“IJ”). Shortly after, the Department of Homeland Security issued Kumar a Notice to Appear and charged him as an alien removable for entering the United States without valid entry documents and for being present in the United States without admission or parole. On April 18, 2019, the IJ sustained both charges of removability. Kumar then told the IJ he wanted to apply for asylum and withholding of removal, and later mailed the court a formal application. He also attached a declaration to his application. The IJ scheduled Kumar’s merits hearing for July 23, 2019, but the hearing was continued because Kumar was in the hospital due to the physical effects of his participation in a hunger strike. On November 15, 2019, the IJ convened court again for the merits hearing on Kumar’s applications. Kumar moved to continue the hearing so he would have 20 to 25 days for a video, photographs, and other documents to arrive from India to support his asylum claim. The IJ denied his request for failure to show good cause for continuance. The hearing proceeded. Kumar wished to testify on his own behalf, so the IJ offered him the opportunity to provide a statement or answer questions. Kumar chose to be questioned. Through the IJ’s questioning, Kumar explained that he feared returning to India because he believed the Bharatiya Janata Party (“BJP”), India’s ruling political party, would kill him if he returned to India. 2 Case: 20-60712 Document: 00516480039 Page: 3 Date Filed: 09/21/2022 No. 20-60712 The following was Kumar’s testimony. He worked for another party, the Indian National Lok Dahl Party (“INDP”), and experienced attacks from the BJP as a result. The attacks began on July 13, 2018, when, as part of his role with the INDP, he …

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