Matias Gomez v. Garland

Case: 22-60182 Document: 00516608329 Page: 1 Date Filed: 01/12/2023 United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ____________ United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit No. 22-60182 Summary Calendar FILED ____________ January 12, 2023 Lyle W. Cayce Heydi Roxana Matias Gomez, Clerk Petitioner, versus Merrick Garland, U.S. Attorney General, Respondent. ______________________________ Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Agency No. A209 416 060 ______________________________ Before Smith, Southwick, and Douglas, Circuit Judges. Per Curiam: * Heydi Matias Gomez, a native and citizen of Guatemala, petitions for review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) dismissing her appeal and affirming the order of the immigration judge (I.J.) denying asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). This court reviews the BIA’s decision and considers the I.J.’s decision only to the extent that it influenced the BIA. _____________________ * This opinion is not designated for publication. See 5th Cir. R. 47.5. Case: 22-60182 Document: 00516608329 Page: 2 Date Filed: 01/12/2023 No. 22-60182 Orellana-Monson v. Holder, 685 F.3d 511, 517 (5th Cir. 2012). The BIA’s factual findings are reviewed for substantial evidence, its legal conclusions de novo. Id. The substantial-evidence test “requires only that the BIA’s deci- sion be supported by record evidence and be substantially reasonable.” Oma- gah v. Ashcroft, 288 F.3d 254, 258 (5th Cir. 2002). We will not reverse the BIA’s factual findings unless the evidence compels a contrary conclusion. Chen v. Gonzales, 470 F.3d 1131, 1134 (5th Cir. 2006). Matias Gomez maintains that the death threats and threats of rape, along with the gang’s extortion demands, amounted to past persecution. The BIA, however, did not address or adopt the I.J.’s finding that Matias Gomez failed to show harm rising to the level of persecution. Instead, the BIA denied asylum and withholding of removal because Matias Gomez’s proposed social group was not cognizable and because she had failed to establish the requisite nexus to a protected ground. Because the BIA did not rely on the I.J.’s findings on past persecution in denying relief, and because the BIA’s dispositive findings related to cog- nizability, as discussed below, are not challenged by Matias Gomez, we need not consider her contentions related to past persecution. See Rui Yang v. Holder, 664 F.3d 580, 584 n.3 (5th Cir. 2011). 1 Before the I.J., Matias Gomez defined her proposed social group as “persons in professions or positions susceptible to extortion.” The BIA agreed with the I.J. that this proposed social group was not cognizable be- _____________________ 1 Matias Gomez also challenges the BIA’s determination that she failed to show the requisite nexus between the harm she suffered and feared in Guatemala and a protected ground. Because the cognizability issue is dispositive, however, we likewise need not con- sider her arguments regarding nexus. See INS v. Bagamasbad, 429 U.S. 24, 25 (1976) (“As a general rule courts and agencies are not required to make findings on issues the decision of which is unnecessary to …

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