Fiengoh v. Garland

Case: 21-60281 Document: 00516635197 Page: 1 Date Filed: 02/03/2023 United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit FILED February 3, 2023 No. 21-60281 Lyle W. Cayce Clerk Lodrick Tsamoh Fiengoh, Petitioner, versus Merrick Garland, U.S. Attorney General, Respondent. Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals BIA No. A213 327 857 Before Elrod, Haynes, and Willett, Circuit Judges. Per Curiam:* Lodrick Fiengoh (“Fiengoh”) petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’s (“BIA”) final order upholding the Immigration Judge’s (“IJ”) denial of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and Convention Against Torture (“CAT”) relief. For the following reasons, we DENY the petition for review. * This opinion is not designated for publication. See 5th Cir. R. 47.5. Case: 21-60281 Document: 00516635197 Page: 2 Date Filed: 02/03/2023 No. 21-60281 I. Background Fiengoh, a native and citizen of Cameroon, alleges that he faces political persecution due to his membership and activities in the Cameroon Teachers Trade Union (“CATTU”) and the Southern Cameroons National Council (“SCNC”).1 Specifically, Fiengoh contends that he was repeatedly detained, arrested, and severely beaten following his participation in CATTU and SCNC protests in 2016 and 2017. Fiengoh alleges that after these arrests, he was apprehended by the military when it raided an SCNC meeting he was attending. He escaped custody, but he subsequently learned from the quarter head of his village that there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Shortly thereafter, the military came to his home and beat his father and brother. When Fiengoh’s family refused to disclose his location, military personnel shot his brother and raped his sister in front of his father. Fiengoh fled Cameroon, and on November 4, 2019, he presented himself at a port of entry in Laredo, Texas. After conceding removability, he sought relief in the form of asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under CAT. On November 14, 2019, an asylum officer conducted a telephonic credible fear interview (“CFI”) of Fiengoh. At the start of the interview, the officer explicitly asked Fiengoh to identify his “best language of understanding,” and he replied, “English.” Accordingly, the interview was conducted in English without an interpreter. At the end of the interview, 1 Fiengoh contends that he is an Anglophone (an English speaker), which is a minority group in Cameroon—Francophones (French speakers) are the majority. See Mbeng v. Gonzales, 174 F. App’x 188, 191 n.6 (5th Cir. 2006) (per curiam). The CATTU is a trade union comprised of Anglophones serving as teachers in Cameroon. The SCNC is a political organization that advocates for the Anglophone Southern Cameroons’ independence from the largely Francophone Cameroon. 2 Case: 21-60281 Document: 00516635197 Page: 3 Date Filed: 02/03/2023 No. 21-60281 Fiengoh confirmed that he understood all of the officer’s questions and that the summary of the interview was correct. Following a merits hearing, an IJ issued a written decision denying Fiengoh’s requests for relief. The IJ cited, among other issues, purported inconsistencies between Fiengoh’s statements and …

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