Jose Abel Garcia-Carranza v. Jefferson B. Sessions, III

United States Court of Appeals For the Eighth Circuit ___________________________ No. 16-3553 ___________________________ Jose Abel Garcia-Carranza lllllllllllllllllllllPetitioner v. Jefferson B. Sessions, III, Attorney General of the United States1 lllllllllllllllllllllRespondent ____________ Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals ____________ Submitted: October 16, 2017 Filed: January 2, 2018 [Unpublished] ____________ Before SMITH, Chief Judge, GRUENDER and BENTON, Circuit Judges. ____________ PER CURIAM. 1 Jefferson B. Sessions, III has been appointed to serve as Attorney General of the United States and is automatically substituted as respondent pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 43(c)(2). Jose Garcia-Carranza seeks review of the denial of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). In 2012, Garcia-Carranza entered the United States from his native El Salvador without valid documentation. The following year, the Department of Homeland Security initiated removal proceedings under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(7)(A)(i)(I). Garcia-Carranza conceded the charge but sought relief based on his fear of persecution and torture if he were removed to El Salvador. He testified that the El Salvadorian police briefly detained and later assaulted him due to his membership in a purported social group of “El Salvadorian youth who are being supported by family members in the United States.” According to Garcia-Carranza, the police also attempted to extort money from him by threatening his life. The immigration judge (“IJ”) and Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) denied his request for relief. Garcia-Carranza now petitions for review on all three grounds: asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under CAT. “To qualify for asylum, the applicant must establish that he or she is a refugee as defined in the statute.” Uli v. Mukasey, 533 F.3d 950, 955 (8th Cir. 2008). Under the statute, a refugee is “any person who is outside any country of such person’s nationality . . . who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42)(A). In concluding that Garcia-Carranza did not qualify for asylum, the BIA adopted much of the IJ’s decision and added additional reasoning, so we review both decisions. See Gathungu v. Holder, 725 F.3d 900, 907 (8th Cir. 2013). We review questions of law de novo and “consider administrative findings of fact under the deferential substantial-evidence standard.” Malonga v. Holder, 621 F.3d 757, 764 (8th Cir. 2010). “We will not overturn an agency’s decision unless the petitioner demonstrates that the evidence not only supports a contrary conclusion, but compels it.” Id. (alterations omitted). -2- Garcia-Carranza fails to satisfy that burden. He has not demonstrated, for instance, that his purported persecution was “on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42)(A). He claims that he was targeted based on his social group of “El ...

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