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Sanchez-Romero v. Sessions

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

July 26, 2017

JUAN MANUEL SÁNCHEZ-ROMERO, Petitioner,
v.
JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS, III, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, Respondent.

         PETITION FOR REVIEW OF AN ORDER OF THE BOARD OF IMMIGRATION APPEALS[*]

          Theodore J. Murphy on brief for petitioner.

          Chad A. Readler, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, Eric W. Marsteller, Senior Litigation Counsel, Office of Immigration Litigation, and Rosanne M. Perry, Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil---Division, Office of Immigration Litigation, on brief for respondent.

          Before Howard, Chief Judge, Selya, Circuit Judge, and McConnell, District Judge. [**]

          MCCONNELL, District Judge.

          The petitioner, Juan Manuel Sánchez-Romero (Sánchez), seeks review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' (BIA) denial of his untimely motion to reopen removal proceedings based on changed conditions. Because we do not spot an abuse of discretion, Sánchez's petition is denied.

         I.

         Sánchez, a Mexican national, entered the United States via Douglas, Arizona, in April 2003, without admission or parole. On October 17, 2009, United States Customs and Border Protection officers encountered Sánchez at the Luiz Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. That day, Sánchez was served with a Notice to Appear, charging him with removability under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(6)(A)(i), for being present in the United States without being admitted or paroled. In addition, Sánchez was charged with removability under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(6)(C)(ii), for falsely representing that he was a citizen of the United States, and 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(7)(A)(i)(I), for not possessing a valid, unexpired entry document at the time of application for admission.

         On November 10, 2009, Sánchez had a hearing before an immigration judge, where he conceded the charge of removability under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(6)(A)(i) but denied the charges under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(6)(C)(ii) and 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(7)(A)(i)(I).

          About half of a year later, Sánchez applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), and on March 24, 2011, he amended his application. In his application, Sánchez stated his fear of criminal gangs (a.k.a. Drug Trafficking Organizations or "DTOs") and the Mexican army, from which Sánchez abandoned his post due to corruption.

         According to Sánchez's petition, the criminal gangs killed his brother and sister, and the gangs would target him as well. Sánchez's sister was killed for testifying against a member of a criminal gang, resulting in the gang member's imprisonment. The petition does not state the reason for the death of Sánchez's brother, but it does say that the killer had disappeared. Sánchez also feared that, upon return to Mexico, the gangs would mistake him for a relative of Mariano Rivera, a former baseball player for the New York Yankees, whose family Sánchez befriended. These gangs would, Sánchez thinks, kidnap, extort, and torture him.

         In addition to fearing the criminal gangs, Sánchez also believed that he would be harmed by the Mexican army. A sergeant in the army forced Sánchez into dealing drugs, and when Sánchez later refused, he was beaten. As a result of this corruption and abuse, Sánchez left the army. His petition stated his belief that there would be consequences for leaving the army, including torture.

         An immigration judge conducted a merits hearing and denied Sánchez's petition on June 7, 2011. Shortly thereafter, on July 5, 2011, Sánchez appealed the immigration judge's denial. And on March 11, 2013, the BIA, after review, denied Sánchez's appeal. No immediate action was taken by Sánchez.

         On August 25, 2016, more than three years after the BIA denied Sánchez's petition, he moved to reopen removal proceedings. In his motion to reopen, Sánchez argued that even though his motion is untimely, his petition to reopen should be granted because the conditions in his home country have deteriorated and intensified. Those purported changed conditions consist of an increase in crime and kidnappings, an increase in power wielded by the DTOs who now operate as a de facto government, and an increase in violence against those who oppose the DTOs. And ...


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