Christian Rosales-Rivera v. Merrick B. Garland

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PUBLICATION File Name: 23a0015n.06 Case Nos. 21-3784/22-3215 UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT FILED Jan 09, 2023 CHRISTIAN ANTONIO ROSALES- ) DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk RIVERA; JESSICA MICHELLE ) VILLALTA-PEREZ, ) ) ON PETITIONS FOR Petitioners, ) REVIEW FROM THE ) BOARD OF IMMIGRATION v. ) APPEALS ) MERRICK B. GARLAND, Attorney General, ) OPINION Respondent. ) Before: SILER, COLE, and NALBANDIAN, Circuit Judges. NALBANDIAN, Circuit Judge. Christian Rosales-Rivera and Jessica Villalta-Perez (“Petitioners”) are native Salvadorans who ran into serious problems with the gang, MS-13. And as a result, Petitioners left El Salvador. They entered the United States and applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and Convention Against Torture (“CAT”) protection. An immigration judge (“IJ”) denied the applications because, among other things, Petitioners failed to prove that the Salvadoran government was unwilling or unable to protect them from MS-13. The Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) agreed. And later, the BIA denied the couple’s motion to reconsider its determination. Petitioners now appeal the BIA’s initial order affirming the IJ’s denial of their applications and the BIA’s denial of their motion for reconsideration. Because substantial evidence supports the IJ and BIA’s determinations, we deny the petitions for review. Nos. 21-3784/22-3215, Rosales Rivera v. Garland I. Petitioners Christian Rosales-Rivera and Jessica Villalta-Perez are married Salvadoran citizens. The IJ adopted Christian’s credible testimony as the factual findings. So we recount the facts largely as they were testified. In 2014, Christian and a family friend named Ivan visited Jessica at her home in El Salvador on Christmas Eve. Ten MS-13 gang members—armed with several weapons—asked Christian and Ivan for their IDs and where they lived. But conversation stopped when a car with broad headlights drove by. The gang members ran away, and Christian and Ivan entered Jessica’s home. Soon after, Jessica’s family received a call from the MS-13 members. Because Ivan didn’t have an ID when the members asked, they threatened to harm or kill Jessica’s family if Ivan didn’t meet them outside. At this point Christian and Jessica “were very scared.” So Christian called the police. He reported the threats and harassment without giving his name. And the El Salvador police responded to his call. A patrol car arrived at the scene, where the officers seized weapons and arrested two gang members. MS-13 came back, this time asking Jessica’s family why they called the police on its members. And the gang blamed the family for the weapon seizures and arrests. So MS-13 told the family to leave their lot by midnight or the entire family would be killed. Alternatively, the gang demanded $700 in extortion money to keep the family safe. The family paid the gang on Christmas Day and has continued to pay extortion money ever since. The next month, a uniformed police officer with a name badge, Juan Morales, appeared at Jessica’s house. Christian, not sure whether to trust the officer, told him that they reported the gang to the police. Trusting Morales proved to be …

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