Peres-Ramirez v. Garland

Case: 22-60339 Document: 00516645636 Page: 1 Date Filed: 02/14/2023 United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ____________ United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit No. 22-60339 FILED February 14, 2023 Summary Calendar ____________ Lyle W. Cayce Clerk Joselyn Esther Peres-Ramirez, Petitioner, versus Merrick Garland, U.S. Attorney General, Respondent. ______________________________ Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Agency No. A220 670 660 ______________________________ Before Barksdale, Higginson, and Ho, Circuit Judges. Per Curiam: * Joselyn Esther Peres-Ramirez, a native and citizen of Venezuela, petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA) dismissing her appeal from an order of the Immigration Judge (IJ) denying her application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). _____________________ * This opinion is not designated for publication. See 5th Cir. R. 47.5. Case: 22-60339 Document: 00516645636 Page: 2 Date Filed: 02/14/2023 No. 22-60339 Peres contends the BIA erred in ruling she failed: to show, for purposes of past persecution, the requisite nexus between the harm she suffered and feared in Venezuela and her political opinion; and to show a well-founded fear of future persecution. (She does not challenge the BIA’s denying withholding of removal or CAT relief. E.g., Soadjede v. Ashcroft, 324 F.3d 830, 833 (5th Cir. 2003) (stating issues not briefed are abandoned).) We examine “the BIA’s decision and only consider the IJ’s decision to the extent that it influenced the BIA”. Shaikh v. Holder, 588 F.3d 861, 863 (5th Cir. 2009). Factual findings are reviewed for substantial evidence; legal conclusions, de novo. E.g., Lopez-Gomez v. Ashcroft, 263 F.3d 442, 444 (5th Cir. 2001). The substantial-evidence standard applies to factual determinations that an alien is ineligible for asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT protection. E.g., Zhang v. Gonzales, 432 F.3d 339, 344 (5th Cir. 2005). Under that standard, our court will uphold the BIA’s decision unless petitioner shows “the evidence was so compelling that no reasonable factfinder could conclude against it”. Wang v. Holder, 569 F.3d 531, 536–37 (5th Cir. 2009). To qualify for asylum, an alien must prove she is “unable or unwilling to return to the country of [her] nationality because of persecution or a well- founded fear of persecution on account of” one of five enumerated grounds. Milat v. Holder, 755 F.3d 354, 360 (5th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted). In this context, “on account of” means the protected ground “was or will be at least one central reason” for the persecution. Id. (citation omitted). Along that line, “although a statutorily protected ground need not be the only reason for the harm, it cannot be incidental, tangential, superficial, or subordinate to another reason for the harm”. Shaikh, 588 F.3d at 864 (citation omitted). Peres contends the BIA mischaracterized the record when it found her persecutors were motivated by financial gain rather than a protected ground. 2 Case: 22-60339 Document: 00516645636 Page: 3 Date Filed: 02/14/2023 No. 22-60339 She asserted two events as her bases for establishing persecution: the robbery of …

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