Joseph Njoroge v. Jefferson B. Sessions III

United States Court of Appeals For the Eighth Circuit ___________________________ No. 16-4322 ___________________________ Joseph Charagu Njoroge lllllllllllllllllllllPetitioner v. Jefferson B. Sessions, III lllllllllllllllllllllRespondent ____________ Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals ____________ Submitted: November 24, 2017 Filed: December 14, 2017 [Unpublished] ____________ Before WOLLMAN, LOKEN, and COLLOTON, Circuit Judges. ____________ PER CURIAM. Kenyan citizen Joseph Charagu Njoroge petitions for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissing his appeal from the decision of an immigration judge (IJ), which denied him asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The record reveals that Njoroge was placed in removal proceedings in 2011 for attempting to procure an immigration benefit by fraud. After an IJ sustained the charge of removability, and Njoroge submitted an asylum application in 2014, claiming that he was a Christian who had opposed the Mungiki – a Kenyan criminal gang that practiced the traditional Kikuyu religion – and that the gang had threatened him in the 1990s because he resisted recruitment. The IJ who had determined that Njoroge was removable retired in June 2015, and so the decision denying immigration relief was of necessity issued by a different IJ, who stated that he had considered all of the record evidence, both documentary and testimonial, and that he had found that Njoroge’s evidence was not credible because of certain discrepancies between his testimony and other evidence. With respect to the merits of Njoroge’s claims for relief, the second IJ determined that, among other things, Njoroge had not (1) demonstrated that he had suffered any harm in Kenya, (2) shown a nexus between any alleged harm and a protected ground, (3) established that his fear of future persecution by the Mungiki was subjectively real or objectively reasonable, or (4) met his burden of proof for withholding of removal or CAT relief.1 Njoroge, through new counsel, appealed to the BIA, raising several due-process arguments, including one based on the fact that the IJ who issued the denial was not present at Njoroge’s merits hearing. The BIA addressed both Njoroge’s due-process arguments and the merits of his application, and based its determinations on Njoroge’s own testimony, without mentioning Njoroge’s credibility. It found no evidence to suggest that Njoroge was deprived of his right to a full and fair removal hearing. It found no clear factual error in the determinations that (1) Njoroge had failed to establish past persecution or a 1 Because Njoroge’s brief does not meaningfully challenge the determination that his asylum claim was time-barred, or the BIA’s reasons for affirming the IJ’s denial of his applications for immigration relief on the merits, he has forfeited review as to those issues. See Chay-Velasquez v. Ashcroft, 367 F.3d 751, 756 (8th Cir. 2004). -2- well-founded fear of future persecution on the basis of a protected ground; (2) had failed to show a nexus between threats from the Mungiki and his religion or any other protected ground; and (3) had failed ...

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