Submitted: October 18, 2017
Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration
LOKEN, MURPHY, and COLLOTON, Circuit Judges.
COLLOTON, Circuit Judge.
Lopez-Coronado de Lopez, a citizen and native of Guatemala,
petitions for review of an order of the Board of Immigration
Appeals. She proceeds on behalf of herself and her minor son
Jhostin as a derivative applicant for asylum. The Board
denied Lopez's applications for asylum, withholding of
removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture. We
deny the petition for review.
entered the United States in June 2015, and applied for
asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the
Convention Against Torture on behalf of herself and her son.
Lopez contends that her husband and a male neighbor have
persecuted her on account of her membership in a particular
social group (i.e., "Guatemalan women"), and will
persecute her again if she is returned to Guatemala. Although
neither the husband nor the neighbor is a state actor, she
asserts that the Guatemalan government is unwilling or unable
to control these persecutors. See Menjivar v.
Gonzales, 416 F.3d 918, 921 (8th Cir. 2005).
hearing before an immigration judge, Lopez testified
concerning two incidents involving her husband Osmar. She
explained that during an argument at her home in Guatemala in
October 2014, Osmar hit her twice on her legs with a cell
phone cord with enough force to leave temporary marks. In
November 2014, Osmar hit Lopez three times on her legs with a
belt after dragging her into the middle of a street. Lopez
reported no violence before 2014, but Jhostin testified that
he saw Osmar hit Lopez between five and ten times over the
course of their fourteen-year marriage. Osmar and Lopez
legally separated in January 2015. Osmar sent insulting text
messages to Lopez after the separation, but the messages
ceased when she changed her telephone phone number in
February 2015. Osmar also complied with a judge's
direction that he should not enter Lopez's house after
also testified about incidents involving a male neighbor
named Hugo Velasquez. Lopez stated that after she separated
from Osmar, Velasquez harassed and threatened her. Velasquez
sought a romantic relationship with Lopez, but she rejected
his advances because he belonged to violent groups and sold
drugs. Velasquez persisted and came to Lopez's house
several times in June 2015. Lopez or her family called the
police twice about Velasquez breaking windows at her home;
the police came on the second occasion, and Velasquez fled.
Lopez testified that she thought Velasquez currently is in
prison for unrelated criminal activity.
immigration judge believed the testimony of Lopez and
Jhostin, but rejected the applications for asylum and
withholding of removal. The Board affirmed, concluding that
neither the abuse inflicted by Lopez's husband nor
Velasquez's threats and harassment rose to the level of
past persecution. The Board also upheld the immigration
judge's finding that Lopez failed to establish that the
government of Guatemala would be unwilling or unable to
protect her from Osmar or Velasquez. The Board concluded that
Lopez had not established a well-founded fear of future
persecution because her husband ceased harassing her after
the separation, Velasquez was incarcerated, and the police
did respond to Lopez's complaints.
review the Board's factual findings for substantial
evidence on the record as a whole, Menendez-Donis v.
Ashcroft, 360 F.3d 915, 918 (8th Cir. 2004), and do not
disturb findings of fact "unless any reasonable
adjudicator would be compelled to conclude to the
contrary." 8 U.S.C. § 1252(b)(4)(B). We review the
Board's legal conclusions de novo.
Regalado-Garcia v. INS, 305 F.3d 784, 787 (8th Cir.
Attorney General may grant asylum to aliens who are unwilling
to return to their home country because of persecution or a
well-founded fear of persecution on account of membership in
a particular social group. See 8 U.S.C. §§
1101(a)(42)(A), 1158(b)(1). Lopez argues that the Board erred
in concluding that she neither suffered past persecution nor
had a well-founded fear of future persecution. She also
contends that the government of Guatemala is unwilling or
unable to control her persecutors, so that the alleged
persecution of private actors should be attributed to the
government. See Menjivar, 416 F.3d at 921.
conclude that Lopez failed to establish that she suffered
past persecution. Husband Osmar assaulted Lopez with a cell
phone cord and a belt in October and November 2014,
respectively, and hit her five to ten times over the course
of a fourteen-year marriage. Although the two most recent
assaults left temporary marks on her skin, Lopez never sought
medical care and did not claim any lasting injuries.
Persecution is an extreme concept, and minor beatings do not
amount to persecution. Barillas-Mendez v. Lynch, 790
F.3d 787, 789 (8th Cir. 2015). The harassment and threats
from neighbor Velasquez also do not cross the threshold to
constitute persecution. Velasquez never caused any physical
harm to Lopez; unfulfilled threats of physical injury
normally do not rise to the level ...