FOR REVIEW OF AN ORDER OF THE BOARD OF IMMIGRATION APPEALS
P. MacMurray, Daniel W. Chin, and MacMurray & Associates
on brief for petitioner.
A. Readler, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Civil
Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Shelley R. Goad,
Assistant Director, Office of Immigration Litigation, and
Carmel A. Morgan, Trial Attorney, Office of Immigration
Litigation, on brief for respondent.
Thompson, Selya, and Kayatta, Circuit Judges.
petitioner, Ana Marina Perez-Rabanales, a Guatemalan
national, seeks judicial review of a final order of the Board
of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying her application for
asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the
United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT). We conclude
that the petitioner has failed to show that the claimed
persecution took place on account of her membership in a
cognizable social group. Based largely on that conclusion, we
hold that the BIA's final order is in accordance with law
and is supported by substantial evidence in the record.
Consequently, we deny the petition.
petitioner resided in Guatemala until April of 2014, when she
attempted to enter the United States. She claims that in
2003, a man named Rodrigo De Leon grabbed her as she was
walking home from church and raped her. She did not contact
the police because she believed that women have no rights in
Guatemala and that the police would be unwilling to protect
her. To avoid future encounters with De Leon, she altered her
route to church. Notwithstanding her precautions, De Leon
tracked her down and raped her a second time.
petitioner became pregnant as a result of this second rape.
She told her mother about both the pregnancy and De
Leon's assaults. Soon thereafter, De Leon left Guatemala.
But as word spread that the petitioner was carrying De
Leon's child, she began to experience abuse from De
Leon's family. Three of his relatives beat her with
sticks and threatened her life. De Leon was married at the
time of the rapes, and she believed that his relatives, upon
learning of her pregnancy, blamed her for "wreck[ing]
petitioner gave birth to her son, Juanfer Perez, in March of
2004. At an unspecified later date in 2007, she was attacked
by De Leon's sister-in-law, who pulled her hair, threw
her to the ground, and struck her with a rock. An x-ray taken
at a local hospital revealed that blood had pooled in the
petitioner's brain as a result of the attack. Although
she seldom went outdoors following this incident for fear of
another confrontation, De Leon's relatives continued to
scream at her from outside her home.
petitioner subsequently met Raoul Mauricio, with whom she
lived and had a child (Astrid Mauricio). De Leon's family
continued harassing her, and the harassment persisted after
Raoul Mauricio emigrated to the United States in 2010. The
petitioner recalls that members of De Leon's family told
her that "now that you are alone, we can deal with you,
about April 26, 2014, the petitioner, accompanied by her
minor daughter Astrid Mauricio, crossed the border into Texas
and entered the United States without inspection. She was
detained upon entry and placed in removal proceedings.
Conceding removability, she cross-applied for asylum,
withholding of removal, and CAT protection. In support, she
claimed both past persecution and a well-founded fear of
future persecution on account of her membership in a
particular social group.
conclusion of her removal hearing, the immigration judge (IJ)
found the petitioner credible, but denied relief. The IJ
concluded that the petitioner was ineligible for either
asylum or withholding of removal because she was unable to
show that the harm she suffered in Guatemala was on account
of a statutorily protected ground. The IJ also concluded that
the petitioner did not qualify for CAT protection because she
had not established a likelihood that, if repatriated, she
would be subjected to torture with the consent, acquiescence,
or willful blindness of a public official. Following the
petitioner's unsuccessful appeal to the BIA, she
prosecuted this petition for judicial review.