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Miranda-Bojorquez v. Barr

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

August 27, 2019

DENNIS MAURICIO MIRANDA-BOJORQUEZ, Petitioner,
v.
WILLIAM P. BARR[*], ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, Respondent.

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

          Rachel L. Rado and The Law Office of Rachel L. Rado, LLC on brief for petitioner.

          Jennifer P. Levings, Senior Litigation Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Office of Immigration Litigation, Joseph H. Hunt, Assistant Attorney General, and Shelley R. Goad, Assistant Director, Office of Immigration Litigation, on brief for respondent.

          Before Torruella, Lipez, and Kayatta, Circuit Judges.

          TORRUELLA, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Petitioner Dennis Mauricio Miranda-Bojorquez ("Miranda") fled his native El Salvador and entered the United States unlawfully. He sought asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture ("CAT"), claiming that he was abused and threatened as a child by family and purported gang members in El Salvador. The Immigration Judge ("IJ") denied Miranda's application for refugee status, and the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") affirmed. Because the agency's decision is supported by substantial evidence, we deny Miranda's petition for judicial review.

         I.

         A.

         On November 22, 2014, at age seventeen, Miranda unlawfully entered the United States near Hidalgo, Texas, after which he was detained by border patrol and classified as an unaccompanied juvenile. Miranda was later released to the custody of his parents, who lived in Chelsea, Massachusetts. On February 6, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") charged Miranda with removability, pursuant to section 212(a)(6)(A)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA"), as an alien present in the United States who has not been admitted or paroled. In May of that year, he filed a timely application for asylum.

         While in Chelsea, Miranda attended school and held jobs at restaurants. It was also in Chelsea, however, where he had two run-ins with the police. The first encounter took place on June 26, 2016. Miranda was riding in a car with three other individuals when the police stopped them after receiving a tip that individuals matching their description had been acting suspiciously in the area. During this stop, Miranda was subjected to a protective search and thereafter arrested for possession of a dangerous weapon, a large knife, in violation of a local ordinance.

         Miranda's next encounter with the police resulted from a group altercation that occurred on September 23, 2016. Miranda was stabbed in the abdomen during this incident, after which he was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment. While Miranda was hospitalized, a Chelsea Police Department Officer, Anthony D'Alba, interviewed him. Miranda was under the effects of anesthesia and oxycodone at the time of this interview. Officer D'Alba filed a police report that detailed his interview with Miranda. The report stated that a woman had instigated the altercation. It explained that after Miranda and his friend ignored the woman's taunts, she summoned around a dozen of her friends, all alleged members of the 18th Street Gang. Upon arriving, the alleged gang members got into a scuffle with Miranda and his friend that eventually resulted in the latter two being stabbed. The police report further reflects that during the interview Miranda stated that he was previously a member of MS-13 but was no longer involved with the gang.[1] Miranda also told Officer D'Alba that he still associated with and had friends who were members of MS-13.

         On October 14, 2016, Homeland Security Investigations ("HSI")[2] designated Miranda as a verified and active member of MS-13. As a result, on November 17, 2016, DHS seized Miranda at his home and transferred him back to immigration custody.

         B.

         In a series of hearings beginning on July 14, 2017, an IJ considered Miranda's application for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the CAT.

         Miranda testified that, as a child in El Salvador, he suffered a pattern of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of family members -- specifically, his uncle Mauricio and aunt Virginia -- with whom he lived after his parents left El Salvador for the United States. Specifically, Miranda testified that Mauricio beat him and forced him to do agricultural ...


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