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Denial of Withholding Relief Based on Claimed Political Persecution Upheld

By Javier Lavagnino, Esq. on March 30, 2010 6:16 PM

Pablo-Sanchez v. Holder, No. 09-3301, involved a Mexican family's petition for review of a BIA decision denying withholding of removal.

The circuit court denied the petition finding that the BIA permissibly determined that petitioner-husband did not suffer mistreatment on account of his political opinions (petitioner was a former Green Party candidate for a seat in Mexico's Congress).

The circuit court explained, in part:

"Even if we accept Pablo-Sanchez's credibility for the sake of argument, he cannot show that the evidence compels us to conclude that his past mistreatment was on account of his political opinion...The sole link between Pablo-Sanchez's political opinions and the assaults and threatening phone calls was a deep and strident voice he thought he recognized from one of his campaign rallies 18 months earlier. Inferring a motive from this kind of evidence requires several inferential leaps that strain the boundaries of circumstantial evidence. More to the point, any inferences we might draw from this effort at voice identification turn on permissible inferences, not mandatory ones.

Even if we assumed that Pablo-Sanchez's harasser and the campaign rally heckler were one and the same, we still would have to infer that he assaulted and robbed Pablo-Sanchez out of political animus. That must be the case, Pablo-Sanchez says, because he "had no other enemies." A.R. 182. But one does not need an enemy to be the victim of a robbery. One needs money...."

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