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Amezcua-Preciado v. United States Attorney General

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

December 3, 2019


          Petition for Review of a Decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals Agency No. A209-383-402

          Before BRANCH, FAY and HULL, Circuit Judges.

          PER CURIAM

         Maria Amezcua-Preciado, a native and citizen of Mexico, along with her two minor children, petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' ("BIA") final order reversing the Immigration Judge's ("IJ") grant of her application for asylum and denying her withholding of removal. The BIA concluded, based on recent precedent from the Attorney General, Matter of A-B-, 27 I. & N. Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018), that Amezcua-Preciado's proposed social group of "women in Mexico who are unable to leave their domestic relationships" was not a cognizable particular social group under the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA"). After review, we agree with the BIA that Amezcua-Preciado failed to establish membership in a particular social group. We thus deny Amezcua-Preciado's petition for review.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Asylum Application

         In July 2016, Amezcua-Preciado, traveling with her two minor children, arrived at the San Ysidro Port of Entry and applied for admission to the United States. The Department of Homeland Security issued notices to appear ("NTAs"), alleging that Amezcua-Preciado and her children were removable under INA § 212(a)(7)(A)(i)(I), 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(7)(A)(i)(I), as immigrants not in possession of valid entry or travel documents. They admitted the allegations in the NTAs and conceded removability as charged.

         Amezcua-Preciado applied for asylum and withholding of removal, asserting persecution on account of her membership in a particular social group. Amezcua-Preciado stated, among other things, that her husband physically and psychologically abused her and did not economically support her. Amezcua-Preciado submitted affidavits from: (1) her half-brother stating that Amezcua-Preciado's husband was an abusive drug addict who would kick her and her children out of the house; and (2) two lawyers who knew her in Mexico who stated that Amezcua-Preciado left her husband because he was physically and psychologically abusive.

         Amezcua-Preciado also submitted the 2015 Human Rights Report for Mexico from the United States Department of State ("Country Report"). The Country Report indicated, in relevant part, that: (1) Mexican federal law criminalized domestic violence, including spousal rape, but state and municipal domestic violence laws "largely failed to meet the required federal standards and often were unenforced"; (2) human rights organizations reported that Mexican authorities did not take rape reports seriously, and victims were "socially stigmatized and ostracized"; (3) the Mexican federal government, and every Mexican state, criminalized femicide, and 40 federal prosecutors were assigned to cases of violence against women; (4) Mexico had established a "gender alert" system to collect gender-based violence information to support investigations, and there were 72 shelters across the country; and (5) domestic violence victims in rural communities "often did not report abuses due to fear of spousal reprisal, stigma, and societal beliefs that abuse did not merit a complaint."

         B. Asylum Hearing

         At her merits hearing, Amezcua-Preciado testified about her husband's abuse, which included beatings about once a week and sometimes locking her up without food. Because her husband provided no financial support, Amezcua-Preciado worked two jobs in order to feed herself and her children. Approximately five times, Amezcua-Preciado went to her aunt's home to get away from the abuse, but her aunt would kick her out, stating that Amezcua-Preciado "was already married and that [she] had to be there with [her husband]." Amezcua-Preciado tried to find another place to live, but she could not afford one.

         In one incident about two years before Amezcua-Preciado left Mexico, her husband chased her from her home with a knife. Although Amezcua-Preciado told the police about the incident, they did not pay attention to her. Amezcua-Preciado admitted, however, that she did not file a police report of the incident.

         Amezcua-Preciado testified she was afraid to return to Mexico because her husband told her if she left, he would kill her. Although Amezcua-Preciado had never tried to relocate within Mexico, she believed she was not safe anywhere in Mexico because her husband would find her.

         C. IJ's ...

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