Rene Israel Rivera-Perez v. U.S. Attorney General

Case: 16-17695 Date Filed: 10/17/2017 Page: 1 of 10 [DO NOT PUBLISH] IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT ________________________ No. 16-17695 Non-Argument Calendar ________________________ Agency No. A202-122-564 RENE ISRAEL RIVERA-PEREZ, Petitioner, versus U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL, Respondent. ________________________ Petition for Review of a Decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals ________________________ (October 17, 2017) Before HULL, WILSON, and JULIE CARNES, Circuit Judges. PER CURIAM: Case: 16-17695 Date Filed: 10/17/2017 Page: 2 of 10 Petitioner Rene Rivera-Perez, a native and citizen of El Salvador, petitions for review from the Board of Immigration Appeals’s (“BIA”) final order affirming the Immigration Judge’s (“IJ”) denial of his application for asylum. On appeal, he argues that substantial evidence does not support the BIA’s determination that he was ineligible for asylum because he failed to show a nexus between the persecution he faced and his membership in a particular social group. Specifically, he argues that he is a member of a particular social group consisting of multi- generational farmers, and that the Mara Salvatrucha (“MS-13”) gang targeted him because, as a member of that social group, he could inconspicuously transport drugs while herding cattle on horseback. After careful review, we deny the petition for review. I. BACKGROUND In September 2014, Petitioner arrived in the United States without being admitted or paroled. The Department of Homeland Security subsequently issued Petitioner a notice to appear, charging him with removability pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(6)(A)(i), for being an alien present in the United States without being admitted or paroled. Petitioner conceded removability and indicated that he would be seeking relief in the form of asylum and withholding of removal. Petitioner applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”), alleging that he feared returning to El 2 Case: 16-17695 Date Filed: 10/17/2017 Page: 3 of 10 Salvador on account of his membership in a particular social group. Specifically, he asserted that he was targeted by the MS-13 gang because he was a farmer. He feared that MS-13 members would torture and murder him because he refused to join their gang. The IJ conducted a merits hearing on Petitioner’s applications. According to Petitioner, a criminal gang had threatened to kill him because he did not want to join their group and he therefore feared returning to El Salvador. On one occasion, while he was taking cattle to another part of the farm, the gang grabbed him, took him to a vacant home, and burned the shape of a cross on his arm with cigarettes. His grandparents still live in El Salvador and the gang had asked them about his whereabouts. If he returned to El Salvador, Petitioner believed the gang would kill him. He could not go to another part of El Salvador because there are gangs all over the country and they communicate with each other. Petitioner testified that he moved cattle from his grandfather’s farm to another plot of land because the cattle had run out of grass ...

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