Martin Juan-Juan v. Merrick Garland

FILED NOT FOR PUBLICATION AUG 12 2022 UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS MOLLY C. DWYER, CLERK U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT MARTIN JUAN-JUAN, No. 16-73866 Petitioner, Agency No. A202-099-057 v. MEMORANDUM* MERRICK B. GARLAND, Attorney General, Respondent. On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Submitted August 10, 2022** Seattle, Washington Before: BERZON, CHRISTEN, and FORREST, Circuit Judges. Martin Juan-Juan, a native and citizen of Guatemala, petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision affirming the Immigration Judge’s (IJ) denial of asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the * 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). Convention Against Torture (CAT). We have jurisdiction pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a), and we deny Juan-Juan’s petition.1 “We review the denial of asylum, withholding of removal and CAT claims for substantial evidence.” Duran-Rodriguez v. Barr, 918 F.3d 1025, 1028 (9th Cir. 2019). Therefore, “we must uphold the agency determination unless the evidence compels a contrary conclusion.” Id. “Where, as here, the BIA agrees with the IJ decision and also adds its own reasoning, we review the decision of the BIA and those parts of the IJ’s decision upon which it relies.” Id. at 1027–28. 1. Juan-Juan’s opening brief forfeits several arguments challenging the BIA’s reasons for rejecting his application. This court will “review only issues which are argued specifically and distinctly in a party’s opening brief.” Brownfield v. City of Yakima, 612 F.3d 1140, 1149 n.4 (9th Cir. 2010) (quoting Greenwood v. FAA, 28 F.3d 971, 977 (9th Cir. 1994)). With regard to withholding of removal and asylum, the BIA found a lack of nexus to a protected ground, yet Juan-Juan’s opening brief makes no argument that he established a nexus. It merely reiterates his contention that “young men recruited by gangs to engage in criminal activity” comprise a protected group without addressing the BIA’s conclusion that such 1 Because the parties are familiar with the facts, we recite only those facts necessary to decide the petition. 2 young men are not “socially distinct” or “perceived as a group in Guatemalan society.” Similarly, with respect to the CAT claim, Juan-Juan does not present any argument that the BIA erred by affirming the IJ’s ruling that he failed to show “acquiescence,” i.e., that someone acting in an official capacity would be aware of torture and not intervene. Juan-Juan’s failure to challenge the BIA’s reasoning is a sufficient ground to deny his petition. See Martin v. City of Oceanside, 360 F.3d 1078, 1081 (9th Cir. 2004) (concluding that the plaintiff “forfeited review” of an issue because he did not argue it in his opening brief). 2. Juan-Juan’s arguments for asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT protection also fail on the merits. With regard to his withholding of removal and asylum claims, …

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