Lucas Domingo v. Merrick Garland

NOT FOR PUBLICATION FILED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FEB 9 2023 MOLLY C. DWYER, CLERK U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT LUCAS PABLO DOMINGO, No. 18-70779 Petitioner, Agency No. A206-636-862 v. MEMORANDUM* MERRICK B. GARLAND, Attorney General, Respondent. On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Submitted February 6, 2023** Pasadena, California Before: BOGGS,*** IKUTA, and DESAI, Circuit Judges. Petitioner, Lucas Pablo Domingo, a citizen and national of Guatemala, entered the United States without inspection as a 17-year-old unaccompanied minor. Pablo * This disposition is not appropriate for publication and is not precedent except as provided by Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3. ** The panel unanimously concludes this case is suitable for decision without oral argument. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(a)(2). *** The Honorable Danny J. Boggs, United States Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, sitting by designation. Domingo sought asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) on account of his membership in the particular social group of young men of indigenous descent who have resisted forced gang recruitment. 1 An immigration judge (IJ) denied his application because Pablo Domingo had not shown that his indigenous status was a motivating factor for the gangs’ actions, and therefore failed to show that such harm, and his fear of future harm, was inflicted on account of his membership in a particular social group. 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42)(A). The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed the IJ. Where the BIA issues its own decision, but also relies in part on the IJ’s reasoning, we review both decisions. See Budiono v. Lynch, 837 F.3d 1042, 1046 (9th Cir. 2016). Factual determinations are reviewed under the substantial-evidence standard. 8 U.S.C. § 1252(b)(4)(B); Plancarte Sauceda v. Garland, 23 F.4th 824, 831 (9th Cir. 2022). Under this “highly deferential” standard of review, a court must affirm unless the petitioner shows that “‘the evidence not only supports . . . but 1 Since he was an unaccompanied alien child, Pablo Domingo’s asylum claim was processed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) pursuant to the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, Pub. L. 110-457, 122 Stat. 5044. USCIS conducted an assessment, found he was not eligible for asylum, and referred his case to the immigration court for adjudication of his asylum application. 2 18-70779 compels’ reversal.” Pedro-Mateo v. INS, 224 F.3d 1147, 1150 (9th Cir. 2000) (quoting INS v. Elias-Zacarias, 502 U.S. 478, 481 n.1 (1992)). To qualify for asylum, a petitioner must show past persecution or a well- founded fear of future persecution, based on one of five protected grounds, by either the government or forces the government is unable or unwilling to control. 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42)(A). A nexus must be established between the persecution and the protected ground, and a grant of asylum is appropriate only if the protected ground is “one central reason” for the persecution. 8 U.S.C. § 1158(b)(1)(B)(i). The …

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