Andrea Wences Godinez; Kelly Michell Wences Godinez, also known as Kelly Michelle Wences Godinez; Caleb Moises Wences Godinez; Victorina Godines Alarcon, also known as Victorina Godinez Alarcon Petitioners
William P. Barr, Attorney General of the United States Respondent
Submitted: January 15, 2019
Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration
BENTON, MELLOY, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.
MELLOY, CIRCUIT JUDGE
Andrea Wences Godinez ("Andrea") and two of her
children, Kelly and Caleb, along with Andrea's mother,
Victorina Godines Alarcon ("Victorina"), appeal the
Board of Immigration Appeals' (BIA) denial of asylum and
withholding of removal. The BIA determined as a factual
matter that the Petitioners did not experience past
persecution or face the requisite risk of future persecution
on account of a protected basis. Specifically, Andrea did not
belong to the asserted "particular social group" of
"women who are in abusive relationships in Mexico that
they can't leave," and Victorina was not persecuted
on account of her familial relationship with Andrea. The BIA
also determined Petitioners could relocate within their home
country. Because the record does not compel reversal of the
BIA's factual determinations, we affirm.
are natives and citizens of Mexico. On November 25, 2015,
Andrea, Victorina, Kelly, and Caleb were apprehended at a
port of entry between the United States and Mexico. They
later conceded removability and sought asylum and withholding
of removal based on the following facts as asserted in
testimony and written declarations.
had been in a relationship with a man named Jose. They lived
together for seven months in 2010 at a location several hours
away from Andrea's hometown. Andrea became pregnant then
fell ill during her pregnancy. She felt she was an unwelcome
financial burden to Jose's family. As a result, Andrea
left Jose and returned to her hometown to live with her
mother, Victorina. Kelly was born in March 2011.
2011, Andrea left for Tijuana to find work. There, she met a
man named Diego and moved in with him. She discovered she was
pregnant in October 2013. During the pregnancy, Diego hit her
in the head and pushed her. She called the police, but in
response to Diego's begging, she did not speak to
officers who responded. Later, Diego slapped her.
Subsequently, Diego locked Andrea in the house, would not let
her leave, and repeatedly raped her. Andrea eventually
escaped, walked to a friend's house, and called the
police. The police did not take action against Diego.
Eventually she was able to obtain assistance with travel and
reach her mother's home.
had not attempted to contact Andrea after she left him and
moved to Tijuana. In 2014, however, they renewed their
relationship. Jose moved into Victorina's home with
Andrea while Andrea was still pregnant with Diego's
child, Caleb. After Andrea gave birth to Caleb, Jose deceived
Andrea regarding the use of birth control, and Andrea again
became pregnant. Jose and Andrea's relationship soured,
she began to distrust him, and they started arguing.
Eventually, she demanded that he leave the house, at which
time he claimed that he worked for a drug dealer without
saying specifically what work he performed. Andrea heard
rumors that the drug dealer was also involved in murder for
hire. Andrea did not know if Jose's statements were true.
She believed Jose might have claimed a connection to the drug
dealer as a means of frightening her so she would not end
November 7, 2015, Andrea and Jose argued in the morning. He
eventually left, but returned at around one o'clock the
following morning, entering the house loudly and threatening
the family with a pistol. He pointed the gun at Andrea,
Victorina, and the children and threatened to kill all of
them. The encounter lasted four hours, after which time, Jose
said he would not kill Andrea while she was pregnant. He
eventually gathered his belongings and left but threatened to
return to kill Andrea and take his child after the
child's birth. Andrea and Victorina reported the incident
to the police and filed a report, but the police refused to
act on the report.
period of weeks after Jose threatened them with the gun, the
family left for the United States. In the weeks between the
violent encounter and the family's exodus, Jose did not
issue additional threats. Andrea reported, however, that he
passed by her home once. Andrea testified that, after she
arrived in the United States, her uncle obtained a copy of
the police report, but Jose threatened to harm her uncle if
he disclosed the report.
point after Petitioners entered the United States, Jose sent
Andrea a friend request on Facebook. Andrea rejected the
request. In addition, Diego's sister contacted Andrea
through Facebook to ask if a picture Andrea had posted was
Caleb, Diego's son. Eventually, Diego found Andrea's
number and called, asking if Caleb was his son. Andrea told
him to quit calling her and refused to answer future calls.
Andrea testified that Diego had not attempted to contact her
after she left Tijuana and before he called her in the United
States. Finally, Andrea testified that she no longer fears
future harm from Diego.
on the foregoing, an immigration judge (IJ) found Andrea and
Victorina credible but reached several conclusions adverse to
their applications. The IJ relied on Andrea's concession
that she no longer feared harm from Diego to find that Andrea
did not face a risk of future violence from Diego. Regarding
Jose, the IJ found the one incident of violence did not
amount to past persecution and also found Andrea failed to
carry her burden of proving a fear of future persecution in
light of: (1) the relatively short duration of her two
different relationships with Jose; (2) the fact that Jose did