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Kanagu v. Holder

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

February 9, 2015

James Thuku Kanagu, Petitioner
v.
Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States, Respondent

Submitted: November 12, 2014.

Page 913

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

For James Thuku Kanagu, Petitioner: Matthew Lorn Hoppock, DUNN & DAVISON, Kansas City, MO.

For Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States, Respondent: Sharon Michele Clay, Karen Yolanda Drummond, Joseph D. Hardy, Jr., Carl H. McIntyre, Jane Tracey Schaffner, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Civil Division, Office of Immigration Litigation, Washington, DC.

Before BYE, SHEPHERD, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 914

SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.

James Kanagu, a native and citizen of Kenya, petitions for review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that affirmed an immigration judge's (IJ) denial of his petition for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). We deny the petition for review.

I. Background

Kanagu arrived in the United States on November 18, 2009, without a valid visa or other entry document. On December 8, 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiated removal proceedings against Kanagu by filing a Notice to Appear with the immigration court. DHS charged Kanagu with being removable under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(7)(A)(i)(I) because, at the time of his application for admission to the United States, Kanagu did not have a valid entry document. Kanagu conceded removability but applied for asylum under section 208 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. § 1158, withholding of removal pursuant to INA § 241(b)(3), 8 U.S.C. § 1231(b)(3), and relief under the CAT.

Kanagu testified in an individual merits hearing on October 21, 2011. He claimed he could not return to Kenya because he feared persecution based on his membership in a " particular social group," which he described as a group of vigilantes formed to counter the activities of the Mungiki.[1] Kanagu agreed with the IJ's

Page 915

characterization of his group as " individuals who are openly opposing the Mungiki sect." Kanagu, who had intermittently lived in the United States since 1998, said he had sent small amounts of money to this vigilante group from the United States between approximately 2004 and 2006. The Mungiki accosted Kanagu in Kenya in July 2009, approximately three years after he had last sent money to the vigilantes, demanding money and telling him they knew he could pay because he had money in the United States. They did not mention his membership in any group. The Mungiki let Kanagu go after he gave them approximately $700 ...


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