Eder Romero-Donado v. Jefferson Sessions III

UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 16-2395 EDER ENRIQUE ROMERO-DONADO, Petitioner, v. JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS III, Attorney General, Respondent. On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals. Submitted: January 23, 2018 Decided: April 12, 2018 Before DUNCAN, KEENAN, and DIAZ, Circuit Judges. Petition for review denied by unpublished opinion. Judge Diaz wrote the opinion, in which Judge Duncan and Judge Keenan joined. Randall L. Johnson, JOHNSON & ASSOCIATES, P.C., for Petitioner. Chad A. Readler, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Linda S. Wernery, Assistant Director, Gregory M. Kelch, Trial Attorney, Office of Immigration Litigation, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Respondent. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. DIAZ, Circuit Judge: Petitioner Eder Enrique Romero-Donado, a native and citizen of El Salvador, seeks protection under the Convention Against Torture (the “CAT”). He argues that if he returns to El Salvador he will be tortured by MS-13 as punishment for leaving the gang in 2001. An immigration judge ultimately granted Romero’s application, but the Board of Immigration Appeals reversed, adopting its own factual findings and concluding there was insufficient evidence to justify protection under the CAT. As we explain, we deny the petition for review. I. A. Romero was raised in San Miguel, El Salvador by his mother and maternal grandparents. At eighteen, he was pressured into joining the local “clique” of Mara Salvatrucha, also known as “MS-13.” Romero initially maintained a low profile in the gang, attending weekly meetings and looking for rival gang members (he never found any). Things changed in November 2001 after Romero refused to get an MS-13 tattoo because of concerns about being publicly linked to the gang. Instead, Romero stopped attending the gang’s weekly meetings entirely, abruptly ending his nine-month affiliation. Soon after, a friend and fellow MS-13 member, Antonio, informed Romero that local clique leaders had ordered his execution. When Romero’s grandfather learned of the threat, he sent Romero to live with family in San Salvador, roughly two-and-a-half hours away. Although Romero’s former clique learned of the move, it never carried out 2 its threat while Romero lived in San Salvador. In 2004, Romero returned to San Miguel to visit with family. While home, he also met with Antonio, who warned him that the gang had learned he was back and planned to murder him as punishment for leaving three years earlier. Romero returned safely to San Salvador, where he lived without incident until entering the United States illegally in January 2007. Sometime after March 2010, MS-13 discovered that Romero had moved to the United States. Romero received two online threats from the gang, one in 2011 and another in 2012. Both threats were relayed by Antonio over Facebook, and stated that Romero would be killed if he returns to El Salvador and ended by requesting money. B. In February 2010, police in Manassas, Virginia arrested Romero on charges of public intoxication, obstruction of justice, felony assault on a police officer, and ...

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