Torres-Rivera v. Sessions

FILED United States Court of Appeals UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS Tenth Circuit FOR THE TENTH CIRCUIT November 21, 2017 _________________________________ Elisabeth A. Shumaker Clerk of Court ANTONIO TORRES-RIVERA, Petitioner, v. No. 17-9511 (Petition for Review) JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS, III, United States Attorney General, Respondent. _________________________________ ORDER AND JUDGMENT* _________________________________ Before KELLY, PHILLIPS, and McHUGH, Circuit Judges. _________________________________ Antonio Torres-Rivera petitions for review of a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying his applications for relief from removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Our jurisdiction arises under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a). We dismiss the petition for review for lack of jurisdiction to the extent that Mr. Torres-Rivera raises issues he did not exhaust in his BIA appeal. We deny the remainder of the petition for review. * After examining the briefs and appellate record, this panel has determined unanimously to honor the parties’ request for a decision on the briefs without oral argument. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(f); 10th Cir. R. 34.1(G). The case is therefore submitted without oral argument. This order and judgment is not binding precedent, except under the doctrines of law of the case, res judicata, and collateral estoppel. It may be cited, however, for its persuasive value consistent with Fed. R. App. P. 32.1 and 10th Cir. R. 32.1. I. Background Mr. Torres-Rivera is a native and citizen of El Salvador. He was detained by immigration officials shortly after entering the United States without valid entry documents in March 2012. In response to a Notice to Appear, Mr. Torres-Rivera conceded removability and applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the CAT. “To be eligible for asylum, an alien must establish by the preponderance of the evidence that he or she is a refugee,” defined as “an alien unable or unwilling to return to the country of origin ‘because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.’” Rivera-Barrientos v. Holder, 666 F.3d 641, 645-46 (10th Cir. 2012) (quoting 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42)(A)) (italics omitted). Mr. Torres-Rivera claimed that he had been persecuted by gang members in El Salvador on account of his membership in a particular social group. At his hearing before an immigration judge (IJ), Mr. Torres-Rivera claimed to be a member of four social groups: (1) “[s]mall store owners in El Salvador”; (2) “member of a family who has reported gang activities including serious criminal violations”; (3) “member of a family who has failed to pay extortion money”; and (4) “[f]ormer employee of a government contractor who is asked to submit period[ic] background checks.” Admin. R. at 128-29. The IJ denied his applications for relief, 2 finding that he failed to meet his burden to show that the alleged persecution was, or would be, on account of his membership in a particular social group.1 “To obtain relief under the Convention Against Torture, aliens must prove it is more likely than not they ...

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