Bakhram Azizov v. Merrick Garland

NOT FOR PUBLICATION FILED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FEB 10 2023 MOLLY C. DWYER, CLERK U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT BAKHRAM AZIZOV, No. 21-70301 Petitioner, Agency No. A201-564-738 v. MEMORANDUM* MERRICK B. GARLAND, Attorney General, Respondent. On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Argued and Submitted January 10, 2023 San Francisco, California Before: OWENS and MILLER, Circuit Judges, and EZRA,** District Judge. * This disposition is not appropriate for publication and is not precedent except as provided by Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3. ** The Honorable David Alan Ezra, United States District Judge for the District of Hawaii, sitting by designation. Bakhram Azizov (“Petitioner”), a native and citizen of Kyrgyzstan, petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (“BIA”) decision dismissing his appeal of an Immigration Judge’s (the “IJ”) denial of Petitioner’s applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and Convention Against Torture (“CAT”) protection based on racial and political persecution he allegedly suffered in his home country. We grant the petition for review. We have jurisdiction under 8 U.S.C. § 1252. 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. Duran-Rodriguez v. Barr, 918 F.3d 1025, 1027-28 (9th Cir. 2019). We review the decision that an alien has not established eligibility for asylum, withholding of removal, or CAT protection for substantial evidence. Id. at 1028. Additionally, we review the agency’s “factual findings, including adverse credibility determinations,” for substantial evidence. Garcia v. Holder, 749 F.3d 785, 789 (9th Cir. 2014). Under the deferential substantial evidence standard, unless the evidence compels a conclusion otherwise, the Panel must uphold the agency’s decision. Duran- Rodriguez, 913 F.3d at 1028. “While [the substantial evidence] standard is deferential, deference does not mean blindness.” Parada v. Sessions, 902 F.3d 901, 908-09 (9th Cir. 2018) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). 2 1. Petitioner fled Kyrgyzstan on March 24, 2019, after multiple incidents of violence he contends were based on his Uyghur ethnicity and political views. Petitioner first argues that the BIA erred in denying his application for asylum. To prove eligibility for asylum or withholding of removal, Petitioner was required to prove that “he has suffered past persecution or has a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” Duran-Rodriguez, 918 F.3d at 1028. Petitioner takes issue with the BIA’s affirmation of the IJ’s finding that it was implausible that Petitioner suffered “on account of” his race or political affiliation because the IJ believed he was compensated for his hangar for an amount greater than its value. We agree with Petitioner. The evidence indicates that Petitioner was never fully compensated after his hangar and equipment were taken from him. In fact, Petitioner testified he that was still trying to recover what he was owed when he fled Kyrgyzstan in March …

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