Carlos Sanchez-Cruz v. Eric Holder, Jr.
Per Curiam OPINION filed : DENIED, decision not for publication. Alice M. Batchelder, Chief Circuit Judge; Ralph B. Guy , Jr., Circuit Judge and Danny J. Boggs, Circuit Judge.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
File Name: 13a0426n.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
CARLOS UMBERTO SANCHEZ-CRUZ,
ERIC H. HOLDER, JR., Attorney General,
Apr 29, 2013
DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk
ON PETITION FOR REVIEW
FROM THE UNITED STATES
BOARD OF IMMIGRATION
BEFORE: BATCHELDER, Chief Judge; GUY and BOGGS, Circuit Judges.
PER CURIAM. Carlos Umberto Sanchez-Cruz petitions for review of an order of the Board
of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that affirmed an immigration judge’s (IJ) denial of his application for
asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT).
Sanchez-Cruz is a native and citizen of Honduras. He claims to have entered the United
States on May 4, 2004. In July 2008, Sanchez-Cruz filed an application for asylum, withholding of
removal, and relief under the CAT, alleging that, if returned to Honduras, he will be persecuted or
tortured by his father, gangs, or enemies that his father made while trafficking drugs. The IJ denied
the asylum application as untimely and the remaining claims on the merits. The BIA affirmed the
On appeal, Sanchez-Cruz argues that the IJ and BIA erred by denying his application for
withholding of removal and relief under the CAT because he established that he would be persecuted
Sanchez-Cruz v. Holder
or tortured if removed to Honduras. Where, as here, the BIA does not summarily affirm or adopt
the IJ’s reasoning and provides an explanation for its decision, we review the BIA’s decision as the
final agency determination. Ilic-Lee v. Mukasey, 507 F.3d 1044, 1047 (6th Cir. 2007). We review
legal conclusions de novo and factual findings for substantial evidence. Khozhaynova v. Holder, 641
F.3d 187, 191 (6th Cir. 2011).
Under the substantial evidence standard, we will uphold
administrative findings of fact unless “‘any reasonable adjudicator would be compelled to conclude
to the contrary.’” Bi Xia Qu v. Holder, 618 F.3d 602, 605-06 (6th Cir. 2010) (quoting 8 U.S.C.
To qualify for withholding of removal, an applicant must demonstrate that it is more likely
than not that, if returned to the country of removal, his life or freedom would be threatened on
account of his race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political
opinion. Vincent v. Holder, 632 F.3d 351, 354 (6th Cir. 2011). If an applicant demonstrates that he
has suffered past persecution in the country of removal on account of a protected ground, we employ
a rebuttable presumption that the applicant’s life or freedom would be threatened in the future. Id.
at 354-55. The government may rebut the presumption by showing by a preponderance of the
evidence either that there has been a fundamental change in circumstances such that the applicant’s
life or freedom would not be threatened or that the applicant could reasonably relocate to another
part of the country of removal to avoid a future threat. 8 C.F.R. § 1208.16(b)(1)(i)(A)-(B); Vincent,
632 F.3d at 355.
Substantial evidence supported the BIA’s conclusion that Sanchez-Cruz did not qualify for
withholding of removal on the basis that he feared persecution by his father. Even if we were to
Sanchez-Cruz v. Holder
assume that Sanchez-Cruz’s family constitutes a cognizable social group and that he established past
persecution, we would find that the government rebutted the presumption of future persecution by
showing that Sanchez-Cruz could reasonably relocate to another part of Honduras to avoid any future
threat from his father. The evidence presented to the IJ established that Sanchez-Cruz was not
harmed by his father during the three years he spent living in Honduras outside the family home, and
there was no evidence that his father had harmed any of his siblings who were living in Honduras
outside the family home.
Substantial evidence also supported the BIA’s conclusion that Sanchez-Cruz did not qualify
for withholding of removal on the basis that he feared persecution either from gangs or from enemies
that his father made while trafficking drugs. There was no evidence in the record suggesting that
gangs had targeted Sanchez-Cruz, or that they would target him, either because of his refusal to join
or on the basis of a protected ground. See Roblero-Berduo v. Holder, 439 F. App’x 532, 537 (6th
Cir. 2011). In addition, the evidence established that Sanchez-Cruz’s father stopped trafficking
drugs in 2003, and, aside from one incident of violence against Sanchez-Cruz’s brother in which a
man asked him if he was the “son of Armando,” there was no evidence demonstrating that SanchezCruz was likely to be targeted by his father’s enemies.
Finally, the BIA’s denial of relief under the CAT was supported by substantial evidence
because Sanchez-Cruz failed to present evidence demonstrating that it is more likely than not that
he would be tortured if removed to Honduras. See Bi Xia Qu, 618 F.3d at 610.
Accordingly, we deny the petition for review.
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