Masin-Ventura v. Garland

Case: 21-60610 Document: 00516402967 Page: 1 Date Filed: 07/21/2022 United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit FILED July 21, 2022 No. 21-60610 Summary Calendar Lyle W. Cayce Clerk Tomasa Yamileth Masin-Ventura, Petitioner, versus Merrick Garland, U.S. Attorney General, Respondent. Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Agency No. A099 530 443 Before Jolly, Willett, and Engelhardt, Circuit Judges. Per Curiam: Tomasa Yamileth Masin-Ventura, a native and citizen of El Salvador, was ordered to be removed from the United States in absentia on June 23, 2006. On August 26, 2019, Masin-Ventura, represented by counsel, filed a motion to reopen the removal proceedings and rescind the in-absentia removal order. The immigration judge (“IJ”) denied that motion, and the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) affirmed. Masin-Ventura petitions this court to review that affirmance, arguing that the BIA erred in determining that she was not entitled to equitable tolling of the statutory Case: 21-60610 Document: 00516402967 Page: 2 Date Filed: 07/21/2022 No. 21-60610 deadline for filing a motion to reopen because, although she had shown exceptional circumstances, she had not shown that she had pursued her rights diligently. We DENY the petition. This court has authority to review only the final decision of the BIA unless the underlying decision of the IJ influenced the BIA’s decision. Wang v. Holder, 569 F.3d 531, 536 (5th Cir. 2009). In Masin-Ventura’s case, the BIA affirmed the findings and conclusions of the IJ; therefore, this court reviews both decisions. See id. “This [c]ourt reviews the denial of a motion to reopen under a highly deferential abuse-of-discretion standard.” Barrios-Cantarero v. Holder, 772 F.3d 1019, 1021 (5th Cir. 2014) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The BIA’s legal conclusions are reviewed de novo. Orellana- Monson v. Holder, 685 F.3d 511, 517 (5th Cir. 2012). The court reviews the BIA’s factual findings for substantial evidence, and it will not disturb such findings unless the evidence compels a contrary conclusion. Id. at 517-18. Masin-Ventura insists that she acted with reasonable diligence given the extraordinary circumstances of her case. Specifically, she claims that she was “forced into an abusive marriage where her free will was dominated by her assailant,” and that her assailant prevented her from obtaining information about her immigration status and the 2006 removal proceedings. She argues that, given those circumstances, the BIA erred in finding that she did not pursue her rights diligently. Although the BIA acknowledged Masin-Ventura’s claim that her abusive ex-partner had prevented her from pursuing her immigration case, it agreed with the IJ that she had not pursued her rights with reasonable diligence. As the IJ noted, Masin-Ventura did not state when the abusive relationship ended, nor did she identify when she learned of the in-absentia removal order or what steps she took following that discovery. See Flores- 2 Case: 21-60610 Document: 00516402967 Page: 3 Date Filed: 07/21/2022 No. 21-60610 Moreno v. Barr, 971 F.3d 541, 545 (5th Cir. 2020) (upholding BIA’s denial …

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