Ruslana Melnik v. Jefferson B. Sessions III

In the United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit ____________________ Nos. 15‐2212, 15‐2929 & 15‐3615 RUSLANA MELNIK, also known as RUSLANA GNATYUK, et al., Petitioners, v. JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS III, Attorney General of the United States, Respondent. ____________________ Petitions for Review of Orders of the Board of Immigration Appeals Nos. A906‐207‐913 & A099‐197‐430 ____________________ ARGUED FEBRUARY 6, 2018 — DECIDED MAY 25, 2018 ____________________ Before RIPPLE, SYKES, and BARRETT, Circuit Judges. RIPPLE, Circuit Judge. Ruslana Melnik and Mykhaylo Gnat‐ yuk, a married couple who are citizens of Ukraine, petition for review of decisions of the Board of Immigration Appeals (“Board”). The Board dismissed their appeal from the deci‐ sion of an immigration judge, denying their applications for asylum and ordering their removal from the United States. 2 Nos. 15‐2212, 15‐2929 & 15‐3615 The Board also denied their subsequent motions to reconsider the dismissal and to reopen proceedings, as well as their mo‐ tions to reconsider those denials.1 We have consolidated their timely petitions for review. For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we deny the petitions. I BACKGROUND A. Mr. Gnatyuk entered the United States on a visitor’s visa in 2003 and overstayed. Ms. Melnik joined him a year later, but immigration authorities apprehended her on entry be‐ cause they determined that she had presented a fraudulent passport. After she requested asylum and passed a credible fear interview, authorities referred her case to the Asylum Of‐ fice of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The Government later denied her affirmative application for asylum and placed her in removal proceedings. A delay of nearly a decade ensued. Mr. Gnatyuk also filed his own af‐ firmative application for asylum in 2010, but the Government denied this application as well, placed Mr. Gnatyuk in re‐ moval proceedings, and consolidated the two cases. The record reveals that, for the six years preceding their travel to the United States, Ms. Melnik and Mr. Gnatyuk op‐ erated a clothing business in Ukraine. In the course of their 1 The Board’s jurisdiction was predicated on 8 C.F.R. §§ 1003.1(d), 1003.2. Our jurisdiction is predicated on 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(5). Nos. 15‐2212, 15‐2929 & 15‐3615 3 work, they traveled to Poland and Hungary to purchase clothing. They then resold this merchandise in a market in their hometown in Western Ukraine. Ms. Melnik testified that, during that period, men, whom she described as “rack‐ eteers,” victimized them through extortion.2 She claimed that, in an effort to force them to hand over money, these individ‐ uals beat Mr. Gnatyuk on multiple occasions and once set his car on fire. She further testified that they went to the local po‐ lice but that the authorities did nothing. She also stated that they closed their business and decided to live separately to ensure her safety and the safety of her daughter, who contin‐ ues to live in Ukraine. Ms. Melnik said that she feared returning to Ukraine be‐ cause she now lives in the west and “the racketeers and ...

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