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Rivera-Coca v. Lynch

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

December 30, 2016

GERMAN DONALDO RIVERA-COCA, Petitioner,
v.
LORETTA E. LYNCH, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, Respondent.

         PETITION FOR REVIEW OF AN ORDER OF THE BOARD OF IMMIGRATION APPEALS

          Ilana Etkin Greenstein and Macias & Greenstein, LLC on brief for petitioner.

          Benjamin C. Mizer, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice, Eric W. Marsteller, Senior Litigation Counsel, Office of Immigration Litigation, Rachel L. Browning and Juria L. Jones, Trial Attorneys, Office of Immigration Litigation, on brief for respondent.

          Before Kayatta, Selya and Barron, Circuit Judges.

          SELYA, Circuit Judge.

          The petitioner, German Donaldo Rivera-Coca, is a Honduran national. He seeks judicial review of a final order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which denied his application for asylum and withholding of removal. Concluding, as we do, that the BIA's order is supported by substantial evidence, we deny the petition.

         I. BACKGROUND

         We rehearse the facts as recounted by the petitioner and then limn the travel of the case. The petitioner owned a small accounting firm in Puerto Cortes, Honduras, which frequently did business with that nation's Liberal Party (though the petitioner states that he is not politically inclined and does not support any particular political party). Early in 2011, the petitioner discovered political propaganda posters supporting the rival National Party displayed on the walls and windows of his office. He tore down the posters but they soon reappeared.

         After the petitioner removed the posters a second time, three or four men, dressed in clothing typically worn by National Party activists, came to his office and assaulted him. The petitioner says that he reported the matter to the police and that he sought medical treatment. He asserts that, despite his report, the police never investigated the matter.

         A few days later, the petitioner discovered that the posters were once more in evidence. He removed them but, shortly thereafter, he started receiving threats. We briefly describe the threats. The petitioner testified that a handwritten note was delivered to his office and - although the original note was never produced - he claimed that it said that he "had to be very careful" and that those who do not respect "the blue ones" regret it.[1] The petitioner did not report this message to the police.

         One evening in March of 2011, a stranger dressed in what the petitioner described as typical National Party attire (a white shirt and blue jeans) approached the petitioner on the street. The stranger told the petitioner that he was "going to die if [he did not] join [them]." Once again, the petitioner did not report this threat to the police.

         The petitioner's family also became involved: on a few unspecified occasions, National Party activists told the petitioner's wife that they knew where her husband lived and where he was. In addition, caravans of cars bearing National Party flags stopped in front of the family's home. The occupants of the cars shouted, "I know who you are and I know who you're dealing with."

         Concerned about the situation, the petitioner took his family to his mother-in-law's house (five or six hours away). Despite this relocation, caravans of cars continued to appear. Men shouted from the cars, "Never mind where you go. Never mind where you are. We know where you are."

         The petitioner decided to flee to the United States. Leaving his family in Honduras, he entered the United States without documentation in May of 2011. He was apprehended and questioned by Border Patrol agents. He told the agents that he intended to live and work in the United States for two years and that he did not fear returning to Honduras. But during an interview some months later, the ...


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