Santiago Godinez-Godinez v. Jefferson B. Sessions, III

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION File Name: 18a0036n.06 No. 17-3345 FILED Jan 19, 2018 UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT SANTIAGO GODINEZ-GODINEZ, ) ) Petitioner, ) ) ON PETITION FOR REVIEW v. ) FROM THE UNITED STATES ) BOARD OF IMMIGRATION JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS, III, Attorney ) APPEALS General, ) ) Respondent. ) ) BEFORE: BATCHELDER, GILMAN, and ROGERS, Circuit Judges. PER CURIAM. Santiago Godinez-Godinez (Godinez) petitions this court for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissing his appeal from the denial of his application for withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). As set forth below, we deny the petition for review. Godinez, a native and citizen of Mexico, last entered the United States without inspection in 2004. Nine years later, after Godinez pleaded guilty to criminal charges, the Department of Homeland Security served him with a notice to appear in removal proceedings, charging him with removability as an alien present in the United States without being admitted or paroled. See 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(6)(A)(i). Godinez appeared before an immigration judge (IJ) and conceded removability as charged. Godinez filed an application for withholding of removal based on his political opinion and membership in a particular social group and for CAT protection, requesting voluntary departure in the alternative. In support of his application, Godinez asserted that he is a No. 17-3345, Godinez-Godinez v. Sessions well-known Mariachi musician in both the United States and Mexico; that he may be solicited or forced to compose or perform narcocorridos (drug ballads) for drug traffickers, cartel members, or corrupt government officials in Mexico; and that his unwillingness and refusal to do so would result in threats or violence, including torture or death, against him or his family members. At the hearing before the IJ, Godinez testified that he is afraid of returning to Mexico because “there are a lot of gangs and it’s very unsafe to live in Mexico.” Godinez added that the drug traffickers seek out musicians like himself to perform at their parties and that the main reason for his claim is to avoid singing and performing for the drug traffickers and praising and elevating their values. Although Godinez indicated in his application that neither he nor any of his family members, close friends, or colleagues experienced threats or harm in the past, he testified inconsistently at the hearing that he personally knows of four musicians, including himself, who were threatened or harmed for refusing to play narcocorridos. According to Godinez, an acquaintance named Julio was kidnapped and shot in the back after he refused to play for a party. Julio survived and now performs in a wheelchair. Around 2003, Godinez and his brother Salvador performed with their band, Mariachi Dolorense, at a party. When the band finished performing, some of the party attendees brandished guns and ordered the band to play what the attendees wanted. Godinez and the other band members tried to calm them ...

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