Submitted August 6, 2019 [*] San Francisco, California
Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration
Appeals Agency No. A088-469-800
B. Jobe and Morgan Russell, Law Office of Robert B. Jobe, San
Francisco, California, for Petitioner.
Jane Candaux, Assistant Director; Kurt B. Larson, Senior
Litigation Counsel; Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil
Division, United States Department of Justice, Washington,
D.C.; for Respondent.
Before: Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, Eugene E. Siler,
Jacqueline H. Nguyen, Circuit Judges.
panel denied a petition for review of the Board of
Immigration Appeals' denial of asylum, withholding of
removal, and Convention Against Torture protection to Daya
Singh, a citizen of India who asserted claims for relief
based on his imputed political opinion and whistleblowing
activities exposing police corruption.
challenged the Board's precedential opinion in Matter
of N-M-, 25 I. & N. Dec. 526 (BIA 2011), setting
forth a three-factor standard for determining whether
retaliation for opposition to official corruption or
whistleblowing constitutes persecution on account of a
political opinion. Under that test, the immigration judge
considers: (1) "whether and to what extent the alien
engaged in activities that could be perceived as expressions
of anticorruption beliefs," (2) "any direct or
circumstantial evidence that the alleged persecutor was
motivated by the alien's perceived or actual
anticorruption beliefs," and (3) "evidence
regarding the pervasiveness of government corruption, as well
as whether there are direct ties between the corrupt elements
and higher level officials." The panel explained that
because Matter of N-M's three factors correspond
to this circuit's whistleblowing cases, it could not say
that the Board's interpretation was unreasonable.
panel held that the record did not compel the conclusion that
police officers persecuted Singh on account of his imputed
political opinion. The panel concluded that Singh's
asylum claim therefore fails. The panel agreed with Singh
that contrary to Barajas-Romero v. Lynch, 846 F.3d
351 (9th Cir. 2017), the Board erroneously applied the
"one central reason" nexus standard, rather than
the "a reason" standard, to Singh's withholding
of removal claim. However, the panel concluded that it need
not remand the case, because the Board adopted the
immigration judge's finding of no nexus between the harm
to Singh and the alleged protected ground, and thus neither
the result nor the Board's basic reasoning would change.
The panel also held that substantial evidence supported the
Board's determination that Singh failed to establish that
it was more likely than not that he would be tortured if he
returned to India.
asylum case, we must decide whether an alien has established
that he was persecuted because of his political opinion
during confrontations with police in Punjab, India.