Sonia Ramos-Lopez, an undocumented immigrant from Guatamala, was ordered removed from the country by an immigration judge, a decision affirmed by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which dismissed her appeal of the IJ’s denial of her motion to reopen in abstentia removal proceedings, and denial of her subsequent motion for reconsideration.
In her appeal to her removal order, Ramos-Lopez presented evidence that the situation in Guatemala, particularly the violence against women, has reached a level such that it’s now called femicide or feminicide. She also reasoned that since the election of the country’s new president, Otto Perez Molina, Guatemala has now remilitarized, placing her at risk due to her brother-in-law’s involvement with a drug cartel in the past.
Ramos-Lopez also contends that the BIA disregarded her due process rights by failing to weigh all of the evidence she submitted to the court. She also argued her strong showing of proving her eligibility for asylum, relief of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Despite making a prime facie showing, she believes the BIA did not sufficiently consider all of the evidence, as well as her subsequent application for CAT relief.
Court of Appeals Denies Petition
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, ruled that Ramos-Lopez failed to present sufficient material evidence of changed conditions in Guatemala concerning her argument of femicide. Although Ramos-Lopez indeed presented documents showing that the number of murdered women in Guatemala has most recently increased, the court concluded that she had failed to make any meaningful comparisons in these incidents between the time she filed her motion to reopen in 2013, and the time of her removal hearing in 1998. As such, Ramos-Lopez failed to provide sufficient insight on how those general conditions relate to her specific claims.
The court also ruled that Ramos-Lopez failed to present sufficient material evidence of changed conditions in Guatemala about her claims of remilitarization under the administration of president Otto Perez Molina.
As such, the court of appeals concluded that the BIA was not remiss, nor did it abuse its discretion, after affirming the immigration judge’s initial ruling that Ramos-Lopez had not made the required showing of evidence to prove her claims.
And since the BIA did not abuse its discretion, the court saw no reason to go over Ramos-Lopez’s claims of eligibility of asylum, relief of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Lastly, the court cited its lack of jurisdiction over the BIA’s denial of Ramos-Lopez’s motion for reconsideration because too much time had passed before she had filed review for that decision.
Ultimately, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied and dismissed Ramos-Lopez’s petition.
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