Miguel Perez-Montes v. Jefferson Sessions, III

In the United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit ____________________ No. 17-2520 MIGUEL PEREZ-MONTES, Petitioner, v. JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS III, Attorney General of the United States, Respondent. ____________________ Petition for Review of a Decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals. No. A042 218 279. ____________________ ARGUED JANUARY 3, 2018 — DECIDED JANUARY 24, 2018 ____________________ Before EASTERBROOK and SYKES, Circuit Judges, and REAGAN, District Judge.* EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judge. Miguel Perez-Montes, a citi- zen of Mexico, entered the United States in 1989 as a lawful permanent resident. In 2001 he joined the Army and later served two tours in Afghanistan. He received a general dis- * Of the Southern District of Illinois, sitting by designation. 2 No. 17-2520 charge under honorable conditions. During all the years he could do so, he did not apply for citizenship. His eligibility ended in 2010, when he was convicted of a cocaine offense. That conviction led to removal proceedings and made Perez- Montes ineligible for most forms of relief. Aliens convicted of aggravated felonies remain eligible for deferral of removal under the Convention Against Tor- ture. Perez-Montes contended that he was at risk of being tortured or killed in Mexico because his military training would lead drug gangs to recruit him. If he refused to coop- erate—he says that he would not cooperate and that the po- lice would fail to protect him—he would be harmed. He also asserted that the Mexican government tortures its citizens who return after serving in the U.S. military. An immigra- tion judge concluded that Perez-Montes had not established a substantial risk that he would be targeted by gangs or harmed if he refused to help them. The IJ added that, if ap- proached by gangs, Perez-Montes could move to parts of Mexico where they don’t operate, and that there is no evi- dence that Mexican officials mistreat former soldiers. The Board of Immigration Appeals agreed with the IJ and left the removal order in place. Perez-Montes does not contend that the administrative decision is unsupported by substantial evidence. Instead he makes a purely legal argument: that both the IJ and the BIA misunderstood the burden that an alien faces when seeking relief under the Convention. Regulations require an alien to show that torture is “more likely than not”. 8 C.F.R. §§ 1208.16(b)(1)(iii), (b)(2), (c)(2), (c)(4), 1208.17(a). Perez- Montes contends that the Board and the IJ erred by asking, instead, whether he faced a “substantial risk” of torture in No. 17-2520 3 Mexico. That differs from the regulatory standard, he as- serts, and saddled him with a greater burden. The IJ and BIA did not pluck this phrase out of the air. It comes from Rodriguez-Molinero v. Lynch, 808 F.3d 1134, 1136 (7th Cir. 2015), which discussed the fact that the regulatory phrase sometimes has been seen as requiring statistical proof that quantifies the precise risk an alien faces. Does the risk exceed 50%? What if there is a 20% risk of death and a 40% risk of ...

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