FOR REVIEW OF AN ORDER OF THE BOARD OF IMMIGRATION APPEALS
Mariana Baron, with whom Kevin MacMurray and MacMurray &
Associates were on brief, for petitioner.
M. Dowd, Senior Litigation Counsel, Office of Immigration
Litigation, Civil Division, United States Department of
Justice, with whom Benjamin C. Mizer, Principal Deputy
Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, and Jessica A.
Dawgert, Senior Litigation Counsel, Office of Immigration
Litigation, were on brief, for respondent.
Torruella, Kayatta, Barron, Circuit Judges.
BARRON, Circuit Judge.
Marroquín-Rivera, a native and citizen of Guatemala,
petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals'
("BIA") decision affirming the Immigration
Judge's ("IJ") denial of her application for
withholding of removal under 8 U.S.C. § 1231(b)(3)(A).
After reviewing the record, we deny her petition.
unlawfully entered the United States in August 2010. Removal
proceedings against Marroquín began shortly after she
entered the country, when the Department of Homeland Security
filed a notice to appear that charged her with removability,
under 8 U.S.C § 1182(a)(6)(A)(i), due to its
determination that she had entered without being admitted or
paroled by an immigration officer. Marroquín, through
counsel, conceded removability, but then applied for
withholding of removal pursuant to 8 U.S.C. §
1231(b)(3)(A), and for protection under the Convention
Against Torture ("CAT"). A hearing was then held
before an immigration judge on Marroquín's request
for withholding of removal and protection under the CAT.
eligible for withholding of removal under §
1231(b)(3)(A), an alien must show by a "clear
probability, " Lopez Perez v. Holder, 587 F.3d
456, 463 (1st Cir. 2009), that her "life or freedom
would be threatened in [the country to which she would be
removed] because of the alien's race, religion,
nationality, membership in a particular social group, or
political opinion." 8 U.S.C. § 1231(b)(3)(A).
ruled that Marroquín failed to make that showing. The
IJ concluded that Marroquín was a credible witness but
that she did not suffer any past persecution in Guatemala.
The IJ explained that Marroquín had testified that her
boyfriend (the father of Marroquín's daughter) was
a police officer in Guatemala who was killed by unknown
assailants after Marroquín left Guatemala.
Marroquín also testified that her boyfriend had been
threatened and had told her that he wanted to get her out of
the country for her safety.
found, however, that Marroquín herself was never
harmed, arrested, or jailed while in Guatemala. And because
the IJ found that Marroquín had not shown that she had
suffered past persecution, the IJ concluded that in order for
Marroquín to succeed in establishing eligibility for
withholding of removal, she had to show that it was more
likely than not that she would be persecuted if she returned
to Guatemala. See 8 C.F.R. § 1208.16(b)(2).
But, the IJ found, Marroquín was merely
"speculat[ing]" as to the likelihood that "the
individuals whom she could not identify who killed her
boyfriend will target her and her daughter."
also found that "if the respondent could avoid a future
threat to her life or freedom by relocating to another part
of Guatemala, and under all the circumstances, it would be
reasonable to expect the respondent to do so, the withholding
application must be denied." And, the IJ proceeded to
rule, "I find that the respondent could avoid a future
threat by relocating within Guatemala, and it would be
reasonable to expect her to do so rather than come to the
respect to Marroquín's request for protection
under the CAT, the IJ also ruled against Marroquín.
The IJ explained that she "ha[d] not established it is
more likely than not the Guatemalan authorities would
consent, acquiesce or turn a blind eye to any torture the
respondent fears at the hands of private actors."
appealed the IJ's decision to the BIA, and the BIA
affirmed. The BIA explained that Marroquín "did
not establish that she will likely be harmed by criminal
gangs in Guatemala based upon an enumerated ground." In
setting forth that conclusion, the BIA found that
Marroquín "has not established that her fear of
harm arising from her relationship with her now deceased
boyfriend has an objective basis following his death."
And, the BIA noted, she "did not establish that she was
persecuted in the past on the basis of the relationship,
particularly where the threats were directed at her boyfriend
in an attempt to get him to cease his investigation, without
any indication that her membership in a particular social
group or political opinion were motivating factors for the
threats." Moreover, the BIA ruled ...