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Garcia-Milian v. Holder

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

September 18, 2013

Lydia Garcia-Milian, Petitioner,
v.
Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General, Respondent.

Argued and Submitted May 9, 2013—Pasadena, California

On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Agency No. A096-180-239

Joubin P. Nasseri, Nasseri Law Group, Los Angeles, California, for Petitioner.

Tony West, Assistant Attorney General, Emily Anne Radford, Assistant Director, Nicole Murley and Jesse L. Busen (argued), Trial Attorneys, Office of Immigration Litigation, United States Department of Justice, Civil Division, Washington, D.C., for Respondent.

Before: Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, Richard A. Paez, and Sandra S. Ikuta, Circuit Judges.

SUMMARY [*]

Immigration

The panel denied a petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' decision denying asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture to a native and citizen of Guatemala because substantial evidence supported the determinations that petitioner was not persecuted on account of an imputed political opinion and that the attack she suffered did not occur with the acquiescence of the Guatemalan government.

The panel explained that masked mens' statements that they were looking for petitioner's common-law husband because he had been in a guerilla group did not establish whether the men imputed a political opinion to petitioner or merely wanted to extract information from her about her husband's whereabouts, and that the evidence in the record did not raise the inference that the men sought to punish petitioner for her association with her husband. The panel held that the evidence therefore did not compel the conclusion that petitioner was persecuted on account of an imputed political opinion.

The panel held that petitioner's testimony that the police declined to investigate the masked men's attack because they lacked sufficient information did not compel the conclusion that the police acquiesced in the attack, and that evidence that the government had been generally ineffective in preventing or investigating criminal activities, absent evidence of corruption or other inability or unwillingness to oppose criminal organizations, did not raise an inference that public officials were likely to acquiesce in future torture.

Concurring in part and dissenting in part, Judge Paez agreed with the majority that the Board did not err in denying petitioner's CAT claim, but wrote that he believed the evidence in the record compelled the conclusion that petitioner was attacked and raped because of her ex-husband's political opinions.

OPINION

IKUTA, Circuit Judge

Lydia Garcia-Milian, a native and citizen of Guatemala, petitions for review of the denial of her applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Because substantial evidence supports the BIA's determinations that Garcia-Milian was not persecuted on account of an imputed political opinion and that the attack she suffered did not occur with the acquiescence of the Guatemalan government, we deny her petition.

I

Garcia-Milian entered the United States illegally in June 2003. After the government initiated removal proceedings, she conceded removability and, on May 3, 2004, applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT relief. See 8 ...


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