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Antonio-Fuentes v. Holder

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 22, 2014

Edilberto Antonio-Fuentes, Petitioner,
v.
Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of United States, Respondent

Submitted April 17, 2014.

Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals.

For Edilberto Antonio-Fuentes, Petitioner: Timothy E. Wichmer, Wichmer & Groneck, Saint Louis, MO.

For Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of United States, Respondent: Jeffrey Bernstein, Senior Litigation Counsel, Sharon Michele Clay, Karen Yolanda Drummond, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Office of Immigration Litigation, Washington, DC.

Before SMITH, COLLOTON, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 903

COLLOTON, Circuit Judge.

Edilberto Antonio-Fuentes petitions for review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals denying his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture. We deny the petition for review.

I.

Fuentes is a native and citizen of El Salvador, who entered the United States in November 2008. In March 2010, the government initiated removal proceedings against him. In June 2011, Fuentes filed an application for asylum and related relief. At a hearing before an immigration judge, Fuentes testified to the circumstances of his departure from El Salvador. He testified that his primary reason for coming to the United States was " to help his family so they can have a better life." He said that he left his parents, eleven siblings, wife, and children in El Salvador, because " there is not a lot of work."

Fuentes described three experiences with gangs in El Salvador. First, in May 2005, Fuentes's cousin, Saul Elias Guerrero, with whom Fuentes resided, was shot and killed by gang members. According to Fuentes, Guerrero had been a member of a gang, but had attempted to leave the gang and to avoid criminal activity. The gang members shot Guerrero because they recognized him as a member of a rival gang. Salvadoran police investigated Guerrero's slaying, but were unable to identify the gunmen.

Second, Fuentes had a run-in with gang members while on a bus. The gang members, asserting that Fuentes previously had thrown rocks at them, held a gun to his head and chest and threatened him. Before the event escalated further, several girls came along, and the gang members left Fuentes alone in order to rob the girls.

Third, gang members threatened another of Fuentes's cousins, who owned a beauty shop where two of Fuentes's sisters worked, and demanded $6,000. As a result of this threat, Fuentes's cousin relocated her beauty shop thirty miles away to avoid further harassment.

Fuentes testified that he had never been recruited by a gang and that none of his immediate family members is a gang member. He told the immigration judge that he disagrees with the gang's activities and that he is afraid of the Salvadoran gangs because " they take everything from you." He fears that if he were returned to El Salvador, gang members would ...


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