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Manes v. Sessions

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

November 27, 2017

Malak Manes, Petitioner,
v.
Jefferson B. Sessions III, Attorney General, Respondent.

          Argued and Submitted September 12, 2017 San Francisco, California

         On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Agency No. A201-106-391

          Morgan Russell (argued), Anne E. Peterson, and Robert Jobe, Law Office of Robert B. Jobe, San Francisco, California, for Petitioner.

          Andrew B. Insenga (argued), Trial Attorney; Douglas E. Ginsburg, Assistant Director; Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.; for Respondent.

          Before: J. Clifford Wallace, A. Wallace Tashima, and Paul J. Watford, Circuit Judges.

         SUMMARY[*]

         Immigration

         The panel denied a petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' decision affirming an immigration judge's adverse credibility determination and denial of asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture.

         The panel held that substantial evidence supported the IJ's denial of asylum and withholding of removal relief on adverse credibility grounds, concluding that the IJ's demeanor findings were sufficiently specific, and the Board and IJ provided specific and cogent reasons for why inaccuracies in the documentary evidence, and inconsistencies between petitioner's statements and other evidence of record, undermined his credibility.

         The panel held that there was sufficient evidence that the Board considered the country conditions reports, and that substantial evidence supported the Board's determination that the objective evidence of record alone was insufficient to establish eligibility for CAT relief.

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM.

         Malak Manes, a native and citizen of India, petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' (Board) order affirming an immigration judge's (IJ) denial of his applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Manes argues that he was persecuted in India because of his support for the India National Order Lok Dal (INLD), one of the country's opposition political parties. We have jurisdiction under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(1), and we deny Manes' petition.

         The Board affirmed the IJ's denial of relief on the basis of the IJ's adverse credibility determination. "Because credibility determinations are findings of fact by the IJ, they 'are conclusive unless any reasonable adjudicator would be compelled to conclude to the contrary.'" Rizk v. Holder, 629 F.3d 1083, 1087 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting 8 U.S.C. § 1252(b)(4)(B)). We afford a "healthy measure of deference to agency credibility determinations, " mindful that "IJs are in the best position to assess demeanor and other credibility cues that we cannot readily access [sic] on review." Shrestha v. Holder, 590 F.3d 1034, 1041 (9th Cir. 2010).

         Under the REAL ID Act, which applies here, "there is no presumption that an applicant for relief is credible, and the IJ is authorized to base an adverse credibility determination on 'the totality of the circumstances' and 'all relevant factors.'" Ling Huang v. Holder, 744 F.3d 1149, 1152-53 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting 8 U.S.C. § 1158(b)(1)(B)(iii)). Such factors include the alien's "demeanor, candor, or responsiveness." 8 U.S.C. § 1158(b)(1)(B)(iii). Demeanor findings "should specifically point out the noncredible aspects of the petitioner's demeanor." Shrestha, 590 F.3d at 1042. The IJ may also consider inconsistencies between the petitioner's statements and other evidence of record. 8 U.S.C. ยง 1158(b)(1)(B)(iii). "When an inconsistency is cited as a factor supporting an adverse credibility determination, that inconsistency should not be a mere trivial error such as a misspelling, and the petitioner's explanation for the inconsistency, if any, should be considered in ...


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