Mohndamenang v. Garland

Case: 21-60380 Document: 00516635691 Page: 1 Date Filed: 02/06/2023 United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit FILED February 6, 2023 No. 21-60380 Lyle W. Cayce Clerk Arafat Shimenyi Mohndamenang, Petitioner, versus Merrick Garland, U.S. Attorney General, Respondent. Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Agency No. A203 600 957 Before Jones, Smith, and Graves, Circuit Judges. Per Curiam: Arafat Mohndamenang petitions for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) affirming the denial by an immigration judge (“I.J.”) of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and pro- tection under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). 1 Arafat requested a stay of removal pending this petition for review; that request was carried with the case. We deny the petition and the stay of removal. 1 Petitioner’s brief refers to him as “Arafat.” We do the same. Case: 21-60380 Document: 00516635691 Page: 2 Date Filed: 02/06/2023 No. 21-60380 I. Arafat is a native and citizen of Cameroon. He applied for admission to the United States in 2019 and was subsequently charged with removability under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(7)(A)(i)(I). On November 13, 2019, he appeared and admitted that he was removable as charged but announced his intention to apply for asylum or withholding of removal based on his political opinion and sought protection under the CAT. At his hearing before the I.J., Arafat, represented by counsel, admit- ted that he had no corroborative materials but testified that he feared return- ing to Cameroon because the government was killing “English-speaking Cameroonians” such as himself. He told the I.J. that he had been arrested by the Cameroonian government and was tortured daily while in detention. He testified that he had later been involved in a peaceful protest when the military appeared and shot dead some of the participants. He subsequently escaped Cameroon. The I.J. issued an oral decision denying Arafat’s application because his testimony was too vague to be credible and he had not corroborated his claims. 2 The I.J. further stated the claims could have been corroborated via “what could be reasonably available documents” such as “a letter from a family member or a friend, or someone who can comport this story.” In his appeal to the BIA, Arafat contended, in part, that the I.J. had erred in finding that he was not credible and that the I.J. should have devel- oped the record by asking him follow-up questions before making a credibility determination. Arafat submitted the 2019 Cameroon country report, several 2 The I.J. additionally denied Arafat’s application because of the then-effective third-country transit bar. That bar has subsequently been lifted and is not at issue in this proceeding. 2 Case: 21-60380 Document: 00516635691 Page: 3 Date Filed: 02/06/2023 No. 21-60380 newspaper articles describing the ongoing crisis in Cameroon, and affidavits from his wife, neighbor, family attorney, and uncle. Arafat asked the BIA to remand to the I.J. for further factual development. The BIA agreed and …

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