Rosendo Alvarez-Hernandez v. Merrick B. Garland

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PUBLICATION File Name: 23a0010n.06 No. 22-3137 UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT ) FILED ROSENDO ALVAREZ-HERNANDEZ, Jan 05, 2023 ) DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk Petitioner, ) ) ) ON PETITION FOR REVIEW v. ) FROM THE UNITED STATES ) BOARD OF IMMIGRATION MERRICK B. GARLAND, Attorney General, ) APPEALS Respondent. ) ) Before: SILER, BATCHELDER, and KETHLEDGE, Circuit Judges. KETHLEDGE, Circuit Judge. Rosendo Alvarez-Hernandez petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ denial of his applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. We deny his petition. I. Rosendo Alvarez-Hernandez, a citizen of Mexico, entered the United States illegally in 2009. The government began removal proceedings in 2013, and Alvarez-Hernandez conceded removability. Around the same time, according to Alvarez-Hernandez, the “La Familia” gang began targeting his family in Mexico. They threatened Alvarez-Hernandez’s father with a gun and robbed him of 40,000 pesos; and they attacked and kidnapped his brother until their father agreed to pay a ransom. Alvarez-Hernandez thereafter filed applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), alleging that, if he returned to Mexico, La Familia would target him next. No. 22-3137, Alvarez-Hernandez v. Garland An immigration judge denied Alvarez-Hernandez’s applications in an opinion that cited, among other things, “the legal standards contained in the standard language addendum.” Alvarez- Hernandez received a copy of the IJ’s decision which did not include that addendum. He then filed a “partial brief in support of appeal” with the Board of Immigration Appeals, in which he asked the Board to provide the IJ’s complete decision and reset the briefing schedule. Alvarez- Hernandez also argued that the IJ’s failure to provide the addendum violated due process and that the Board should reverse the IJ’s decision on its merits. The Board declined to provide the legal addendum or reset the briefing schedule and issued an opinion affirming the IJ’s denial of relief. This petition followed. II. When the Board issues its own opinion rather than simply affirming the immigration judge’s decision, we review the Board’s decision directly. Umaña–Ramos v. Holder, 724 F.3d 667, 670 (6th Cir. 2013). We review legal questions de novo and uphold the agency’s factual findings “unless any reasonable adjudicator would be compelled to conclude the contrary.” Id. Alvarez-Hernandez argues primarily that the Board denied him due process by deciding his case without providing a complete copy of the IJ’s decision. To evaluate this claim, “we ask whether there was a defect in the removal proceeding, and if so, whether [Alvarez-Hernandez] was prejudiced by the defect.” Abdallahi v. Holder, 690 F.3d 467, 472 (6th Cir. 2012). “Due process demands a reasonably accurate and complete transcript to allow for meaningful appellate review and to allow the alien to mount a challenge to the proceedings conducted before the IJ.” Sterkaj v. Gonzales, 439 F.3d 273, 279 (6th Cir. 2006). Here, the Board declined to issue the legal addendum on the ground that doing so was “not …

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