Olmos-Colaj v. Sessions

United States Court of Appeals For the First Circuit No. 16-2388 Yolanda OLMOS-COLAJ and CONSUELO OLMOS-COLAJ, Petitioners, v. JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS, III, ATTORNEY GENERAL, Respondent. PETITION FOR REVIEW OF AN ORDER OF THE BOARD OF IMMIGRATION APPEALS Before Lynch, Stahl, and Barron, Circuit Judges. Ondine G. Sniffin and The Law Office of Ondine G. Sniffin, for petitioners. Robert Michael Stalzer, Trial Attorney, Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice, with whom Chad A. Readler, Acting Assistant Attorney General, and Julie M. Iversen, Senior Litigation Counsel, were on brief for respondent. March 29, 2018 STAHL, Circuit Judge. The petitioners, Yolanda Olmos- Colaj ("Yolanda") and Consuelo Olmos-Colaj ("Consuelo"), natives and citizens of Guatemala, seek review of the denial of their applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture ("CAT"). An Immigration Judge ("IJ") found petitioners' asylum applications to be untimely filed. The IJ also found that petitioners failed to carry their burden of proof with respect to their withholding of removal and CAT claims. The Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") adopted and affirmed the IJ's decision. We deny the petition for review. I. Background Consuelo and Yolanda, sisters and citizens of Guatemala, are members of an indigenous Mayan group called the Quiché. Consuelo entered the United States in 2000, followed by Yolanda in 2002. Both relocated to New Bedford, Massachusetts, and lived in a community with other indigenous Quiché people. On March 7, 2007, after an immigration raid on their place of employment, the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") initiated removal proceedings against Consuelo and Yolanda. Both conceded removability and with the assistance of counsel, filed for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the CAT. On their I-589 forms, petitioners stated that they had not been aware of the filing deadlines for asylum applications. - 2 - On May 12, 2010, with the assistance of new counsel, petitioners filed revised I-589 forms. Consuelo's updated form indicated that she failed to file a timely application for asylum because she was "too afraid to ask for anything when I arrived. I didn't know asylum was an option for me and I certainly wasn't aware of the deadline." In 2015, the IJ held a three-day hearing to allow petitioners to present their case. Consuelo, Yolanda, and Dr. Robert P. Marlin testified at the hearing. Consuelo and Yolanda's psychologist, Dr. Jessica Boyatt, was unavailable to testify, but the IJ accepted her written psychological evaluations into evidence without objection. The testimony encompassed the following: the Guatemalan Civil War occurred during petitioners' childhood. Although no immediate members of their family were harmed, petitioners' "distant uncle" was murdered and their aunt and a cousin were raped. As a result of the level of violence, as well as threats made against petitioners' father, petitioners' mother decided to move the family to Santa Cruz. Petitioners' father remained in San Andrés to run his business. Petitioners testified that they had a difficult life in Santa Cruz without their father. Non-indigenous people often ...

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