Ever Lopez-Velasquez v. Jefferson Sessions

NOT FOR PUBLICATION FILED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS JUL 16 2018 MOLLY C. DWYER, CLERK U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT EVER ARIEL LOPEZ-VELASQUEZ, No. 16-70992 Petitioner, Agency No. A200-681-508 v. MEMORANDUM* JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS III, Attorney General, Respondent. On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Submitted July 12, 2018** Portland, Oregon Before: WARDLAW and OWENS, Circuit Judges, and LEFKOW,*** District Judge. Ever Ariel Lopez-Velazquez (“Mr. Lopez”), a native and citizen of Guatemala, petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (“BIA”) * 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). *** The Honorable Joan Lefkow, United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois, sitting by designation. decision affirming the Immigration Judge’s (“IJ”) denial of his application for asylum and withholding of removal. We review the BIA’s findings of fact for substantial evidence. Silaya v. Mukasey, 524 F.3d 1066, 1070 (9th Cir. 2008). As the parties are familiar with the facts, we do not recount them here. We deny the petition for review. Mr. Lopez seeks asylum and withholding of removal on the grounds that he has a well-founded fear of future persecution in Guatemala by drug cartels and gangs on account of his membership in two social groups: (1) “young men arriving from the United States who are perceived as having money by criminal organizations”; and (2) “young men seen as targets for recruitment by local gangs and cartels.”1 Substantial evidence supports the agency’s factual finding that Mr. Lopez’s two proposed social groups are not sufficiently particularized or socially distinct to qualify as a “particular social group” for purposes of 8 C.F.R 1 Mr. Lopez also claims membership in two additional social groups: “young men who are kidnapped and confined by the cartels and forced to watch torture, beheadings and maltreatment of other people”; and “young men who have been kidnapped by the cartels and now oppose gangs and cartels in Guatemala.” But because Mr. Lopez did not present those proposed social groups to the IJ or BIA, we lack jurisdiction to consider them. See Barron v. Ashcroft, 358 F.3d 674, 677–78 (9th Cir. 2004). Mr. Lopez’s request for humanitarian asylum, is also unexhausted and therefore unreviewable. Id. Additionally, while Mr. Lopez petitioned for review of the BIA’s denial of voluntary departure, his brief on appeal does not argue that issue, so it is forfeited. Martinez-Serrano v. INS, 94 F.3d 1256, 1259–60 (9th Cir. 1996). 2 § 1208.13(b)(2)(i)(A). See Reyes v. Lynch, 842 F.3d 1125, 1131, 1135 (9th Cir. 2016). “[T]he focus of the particularity requirement is whether the group is discrete or is, instead, amorphous.” Id. at 1131 (citation omitted). And to demonstrate the necessary “social distinction,” the applicant must put forth evidence showing that “society in general perceives, considers, or recognizes persons sharing the ...

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