Maria Santos Mejia v. Jefferson Sessions III

UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 17-1216 MARIA ARACELY SANTOS MEJIA; C.E.D.; K.E.D.; A.A.D.; M.J.D., Petitioners, v. JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS III, Attorney General, Respondent. On Petition for Review of Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals. Argued: January 25, 2018 Decided: February 20, 2018 Before KING, FLOYD, and THACKER, Circuit Judges. Petition denied by unpublished per curiam opinion. ARGUED: Jacob Nephi Tingen, TINGEN & WILLIAMS, PLLC, Richmond, Virginia, for Petitioners. Gregory A. Pennington, Jr., UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Respondent. ON BRIEF: Chad A. Readler, Principal Deputy, Assistant Attorney General, Justin Markel, Senior Litigation Counsel, Margaret A. O’Donnell, 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 Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. PER CURIAM: Maria Santos Mejia (“Petitioner”) and her children petition for judicial review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) denying their application for asylum. 1 Petitioner claims that she qualifies for asylum as a “Honduran wom[a]n evading rape and extortion.” J.A. 63. 2 Because Petitioner’s claimed social group is not legally cognizable pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), and because she failed to establish persecution on account of her membership in the group, we deny her petition. I. In March 2014, Petitioner lived in Honduras with her four children, while her husband lived and worked in the United States. Petitioner received an anonymous letter saying she had been “elected” by a local gang. J.A. 84. She understood this as an extortion threat based on her family’s “nice house” and her husband’s absence. Id. at 402. Petitioner discussed the letter with her husband, who entertained the idea of returning to Honduras to help protect the family. Instead, the couple decided to burn the letter and hope that it was just a prank. 1 The Immigration Judge refers to Maria Santos Mejia as the “lead respondent,” while her children are “co-respondents.” Although the application for asylum is not in the record before us, it appears Maria Santos Mejia filled out the application and included her children as co-applicants. 2 Citations to the “J.A.” refer to the Joint Appendix filed by the parties in this appeal. 2 But after midnight on April 7, 2014, several unidentified individuals knocked loudly on Petitioner’s door, demanding money. When Petitioner refused to open the door and said she had no money to give, the individuals demanded she allow them inside so they could “play” with one of her underage daughters. J.A. 86. Petitioner understood this as a threat of rape. At this point, roughly 1:00 a.m., Petitioner called the police and took her family into a bathroom to hide. Finally, the unknown individuals left, but not before firing several shots into Petitioner’s bedroom. Petitioner and her children fled and spent the remainder of the night at a neighbor’s house. Police did not arrive to the scene until roughly 8:00 a.m., seven hours after Petitioner’s initial distress call. Because of the delay, ...

Original document
Source: All recent Immigration Decisions In All the U.S. Courts of Appeals