Maribel Trujillo Diaz v. Jefferson Sessions

RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION Pursuant to Sixth Circuit I.O.P. 32.1(b) File Name: 18a0012p.06 UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT MARIBEL TRUJILLO DIAZ, ┐ Petitioner, │ │ > No. 17-3669 v. │ │ │ JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS, III, Attorney General, │ Respondent. │ ┘ On Petition for Review from the Board of Immigration Appeals. No. A 088 922 375. Decided and Filed: January 17, 2018 Before: MERRITT, MOORE, and BUSH, Circuit Judges. _________________ COUNSEL ON BRIEF: Kathleen C. Kersh, Emily M. Brown, ADVOCATES FOR BASIC LEGAL EQUALITY, INC., Dayton, Ohio, for Petitioner. Brooke M. Maurer, OFFICE OF IMMIGRATION LITIGATION, Washington, D.C., for Respondent. _________________ OPINION _________________ JOHN K. BUSH, Circuit Judge. In this immigration case, Maribel Trujillo Diaz petitions for review of an order denying her motion to reopen removal proceedings. The United States Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) ruled that Trujillo Diaz failed to establish a prima facie case of eligibility for asylum or withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA” or “Act”) because she failed to show that she would be singled out individually for persecution based on her family membership. The BIA reiterated this finding in ruling that No. 17-3669 Trujillo Diaz v. Sessions Page 2 Trujillo Diaz failed to establish a prima facie case of eligibility for protection under the Convention Against Torture. Because the BIA failed to credit the facts stated in Trujillo Diaz’s declarations, and this error undermined its conclusion as to the sufficiency of Trujillo Diaz’s prima facie evidence, we hold that the BIA abused its discretion. We further hold that the BIA abused its discretion in summarily rejecting Trujillo Diaz’s argument that she could not safely relocate internally in Mexico for purposes of showing a prima facie case of eligibility for relief under the Convention Against Torture. Thus, we vacate the order of the BIA and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. I Petitioner Trujillo Diaz is a Mexican citizen who entered the United States in February 2002. She was apprehended by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) in 2007 and placed in removal proceedings. On July 11, 2012, Trujillo Diaz had a merits hearing in her immigration proceeding. She sought asylum, withholding of removal under the INA, withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture, and voluntary departure. During her hearing, Trujillo Diaz testified that she feared for her safety in Mexico because she believed the drug cartel, La Familia, would seek revenge against her and her family for her brother’s refusal to work for them and his subsequent fleeing to the United States. The immigration judge found that Trujillo Diaz’s asylum application was untimely filed, rendering her ineligible for asylum and requiring her claim to be assessed under the higher “clear probability of persecution” standard for withholding of removal. Although he found Trujillo Diaz to be a credible witness, the immigration judge ultimately denied her application for asylum and withholding-of-removal relief but granted her request for voluntary departure. In finding that she could not ...

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