Jose Palma-Campos v. Eric Holder, Jr.
OPINION filed : The petition for review is DENIED, decision not for publication. Ralph B. Guy , Jr., Circuit Judge; Karen Nelson Moore, Circuit Judge (AUTHORING) and David W. McKeague, Circuit Judge.--[Edited 04/07/2015 by CB]
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATON
File Name: 15a0247n.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
Apr 07, 2015
DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk
JOSE LUIS PALMA-CAMPOS,
ERIC H. HOLDER, JR., Attorney General,
ON PETITION FOR REVIEW
FROM THE UNITED STATES
BOARD OF IMMIGRATION
Before: GUY, MOORE, and McKEAGUE, Circuit Judges.
KAREN NELSON MOORE, Circuit Judge. Jose Luis Palma-Campos, a native and
citizen of Mexico, seeks judicial review of a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals
The BIA affirmed the decision by an Immigration Judge (“IJ”) denying Palma-
Campos’s application for withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture
(“CAT”), 8 C.F.R. § 1208.16(c). For the reasons set forth below, we DENY the petition for
Palma-Campos last entered the United States in 2008. Hr’g Tr. at 26–27 (AR 78–79).
After Palma-Campos was arrested for traffic violations, the Department of Homeland Security
began removal proceedings against him. He was charged with entering the United States without
admission or parole. Palma-Campos conceded removability and initially applied for asylum
under § 208 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), 8 U.S.C. § 1158, withholding of
Palma-Campos v. Holder
removal under § 241(b)(3) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. § 1231(b)(3), and withholding of removal under
the CAT. However, he later withdrew his asylum claim and withholding claim under the INA at
a hearing before the IJ. Id. at 24, 30 (AR 76, 82). Thus, his sole remaining claim is for
withholding of removal under the CAT.
Palma-Campos testified that he feared for his and his family’s safety in Mexico because
of “the violence and the lack of work.” Id. at 42 (AR 94). He stated that although he had never
been hurt while he lived in Mexico, he “was always watching [his] back because there’s always
somebody trying to hurt you.” Id. at 50 (AR 102). Palma-Campos explained that “[y]ou can get
assaulted at any time.” Id. at 36 (AR 88). He continued that the violence in Mexico increased in
2008, with “young kids . . . robbing people, . . . assaulting people. The teenagers are carrying
guns on the streets.” Id. at 39 (AR 91). Palma-Campos said that his brother “was shot in the leg
and in the arm” in 2011, and had to attend therapy for one year as a result. Id. at 36 (AR 88).
Although Palma-Campos initially testified that “[t]here was a guy that lived in town that wanted
to hit . . . him [his brother],” he later testified that he did not know who shot his brother. Id. at
37, 50 (AR 89, 102). Palma-Campos stated that he did not remember if his family reported the
incident to the police, but he added that “[m]any times when this happens, people decide not to
file a complaint or report it to the police because they don’t do anything.” Id. at 51 (AR 103).
He also stated that two men had tried to sexually assault his wife when she was fifteen (before
they were married), and that one of his other brothers was attacked with a glass bottle. Id. at 41,
Palma-Campos v. Holder
52 (AR 93, 104). He testified that none of his other family members had been threatened or hurt
in Mexico. Id. at 40, 52 (AR 92, 104).
On March 7, 2013, the IJ denied Palma-Campos’s application for withholding of removal
under the CAT and granted him voluntary departure. IJ Decision at 8 (AR 36). The IJ found
Palma-Campos to be credible. Id. at 7 (AR 35). However, the IJ explained that “he did not
testify to fearing harm that meets the definition of torture” because “fearing general violence
does not equate to fearing torture.” Id. The IJ found that Palma-Campos also “did not establish
he is more likely than not to face harm” if he returned to Mexico. Id. Further, the IJ noted that
although Palma-Campos testified that the police do not respond to criminal activity, “he did not
meet his burden of proof in establishing the government of Mexico is willfully blind to acts of
violence or crime.” Id. at 8 (AR 36). The BIA affirmed the IJ’s decision without opinion. BIA
Decision (AR 3). A panel of this court denied Palma-Campos a stay of removal.
Palma-Campos argues that the IJ abused her discretion in denying his application because
she found him to be credible, and he testified that he fears violence in Mexico and that the police
do not take any action in response to crime. Pet. Br. at 7–8.
A. Standard of Review
When the BIA adopts the IJ’s decision without opinion, we review the decision of the IJ
as the final administrative order. See Denko v. I.N.S., 351 F.3d 717, 723 (6th Cir. 2003). We
review the IJ’s factual findings to determine whether they are supported by substantial evidence.
Palma-Campos v. Holder
Hanna v. Holder, 740 F.3d 379, 386 (6th Cir. 2014). We cannot reverse unless the evidence is
“so compelling that no reasonable factfinder could fail” to conclude to the contrary. Mostafa v.
Ashcroft, 395 F.3d 622, 624 (6th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation marks omitted).
B. Withholding of Removal under the CAT
An applicant for withholding of removal under the CAT “bears the burden of establishing
‘it is more likely than not that he or she would be tortured if removed to the proposed country of
Liti v. Gonzales, 411 F.3d 631, 641 (6th Cir. 2005) (quoting 8 C.F.R.
§ 1208.16(c)(2)). Torture is defined as:
any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is
intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as . . . punishing him or her
for an act he or she or a third person has committed or is suspected of having
committed, or intimidating or coercing him or her or a third person, or for any
reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is
inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public
official or other person acting in an official capacity.
Almuhtaseb v. Gonzales, 453 F.3d 743, 751 (6th Cir. 2006) (quoting 8 C.F.R. § 1208.18(a)(1)).
“The term ‘torture’ only describes ‘an extreme form of cruel and inhuman treatment and does not
include lesser forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment that do not amount
to torture.’” Id. (quoting 8 C.F.R. § 1208.18(a)(2)). We examine “all relevant evidence” in
deciding whether an applicant will suffer future torture, including “evidence of past torture
inflicted on the applicant,” “evidence that the applicant could relocate to a part of the country
where he is likely not to be tortured,” “evidence of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human
rights within the country to which the applicant will be removed,” and “other relevant
Palma-Campos v. Holder
information about the country to which the applicant will be removed.” Amir v. Gonzales, 467
F.3d 921, 926–27 (6th Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Palma-Campos’s testimony suggests that he fears general violence in Mexico. Although
he recounted isolated violent incidents perpetrated against his brothers and wife in Mexico, those
events do not rise to the level of torture, and he did not point to any evidence of a particularized
threat of torture to him if he were to return to Mexico. Almuhtaseb, 453 F.3d at 751 (“To qualify
for withholding of removal under the CAT, . . . [the applicant] must establish a particularized
threat of torture.”) (internal quotation marks omitted). We have held previously that “[a] general
fear of crime and economic problems” is not sufficient to establish eligibility for withholding of
removal under the CAT. Renteria-Cortes v. Holder, 563 F. App’x 466, 469 (6th Cir. 2014).
Thus, we hold that the IJ’s decision is supported by substantial evidence and that the evidence
does not compel a finding that Palma-Campos more likely than not would be tortured if he were
to return to Mexico.
For the reasons set forth above, we DENY the petition for review.
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