Xiao Chen v. Merrick Garland

NOT FOR PUBLICATION FILED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS SEP 15 2023 MOLLY C. DWYER, CLERK U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT XIAO LI CHEN, No. 20-73551 No. 22-1348 Petitioner, Agency No. v. A216-627-463 MERRICK B. GARLAND, Attorney MEMORANDUM* General, Respondent. On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Submitted September 13, 2023** Phoenix, Arizona Before: GOULD, HURWITZ, and BUMATAY, Circuit Judges. Xiao Li Chen, a native and citizen of China, petitions for review of a Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) decision affirming an order of an Immigration Judge (“IJ”) denying her application for asylum and withholding of removal. She * 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). also petitions for review of the BIA’s denial of her motion to reopen her case. We have jurisdiction under 8 U.S.C. § 1252. Reviewing the denial of asylum and withholding of removal for substantial evidence, Enying Li v. Holder, 738 F.3d 1160, 1163 (9th Cir. 2018), and reviewing the denial of the motion to reopen for abuse of discretion, INS v. Doherty, 502 U.S. 314, 323–24 (1992), we deny the petitions.1 1. Substantial evidence supports the IJ’s adverse credibility determination, which the BIA upheld. Chen’s testimony about her baptismal date conflicted with her prior testimony, her baptismal certificate, and her written declaration. For example, Chen testified that she was baptized in August 2017, yet her baptismal certificate states she was baptized in 2000. Chen also testified that she converted to Christianity in January 2016, but later said she converted in November 2016. When pressed on why she changed the dates, Chen failed to give a reasonable explanation and continued shifting the date that she converted throughout the hearing. Chen also omitted significant facts from her written declaration that she mentioned for the first time at her asylum hearing—such as her alleged prolonged harassment by Chinese police and family planning officials. These omissions “are 1 Although Chen asserted a claim for protection under the Convention Against Torture before the IJ, she did not meaningfully challenge the IJ’s denial of that claim before the BIA. Thus, the claim is not properly before us on review. See 8 U.S.C. § 1252(d)(1). 2 22-1348 not trivialities, but pivotal events that were crucial to establishing that [Chen] actually suffered persecution.” Silva-Pereira v. Lynch, 827 F.3d 1176, 1186 (9th Cir. 2016) (simplified). The BIA was not required to accept Chen’s explanation for why she omitted those details, and the record does not compel a contrary conclusion. See Li v. Garland, 13 F.4th 954, 961 (9th Cir. 2021). 2. The BIA did not abuse its discretion by denying Chen’s motion to reopen her case given new information from medical exams that she obtained after her hearing. The BIA may deny a motion to reopen “by relying on a previous adverse …

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