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Applicant Did Not Show Catholic ‘Persecution’

A Chinese native and citizen who en­tered the U.S. illegally in 2009 and has become a member of the Catholic church has not shown that he is entitled to asy­lum or withholding of removal based on an allegation of widespread persecu­tion of persons who attend underground Catholic churches in China; the 4th Cir­cuit denies his petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ denial of his request.

Appellant challenges the BIA’s denial of asylum, withholding of removal and Convention Against Torture protection. He takes issue with the board’s determi­nation that he did not meet his burden of showing a well-founded fear of future persecution.

Appellant has satisfied the subjective component of his claim based upon the Immigration Judge’s favorable credibili­ty finding. The only issue, then, is wheth­er he can demonstrate an objective fear of persecution. An objective fear of perse­cution exists when there is a reasonable possibility of suffering such persecution if the applicant were to return to that country.

Here, appellant has not argued that he will be singled out for persecution in Chi­na, nor has he asserted that the Chinese government has any awareness of his re­ligious affiliation. In fact, the board ob­served that appellant had presented no evidence suggesting the Chinese govern­ment was in any way cognizant of him or his religious beliefs. Appellant, therefore, has waived any challenge to the board’s conclusion that he failed to prove he would be singled out for persecution. The record contains no evidence to support that argument.

Pattern of persecution

Appellant also fails to show a pat­tern or practice of persecution in China against persons similarly situated to him. Two State Department documents he submitted confirm that the Chinese government recognizes the Roman Cath­olic Church, millions of Catholics attend registered Catholic churches, the govern­ment has allowed the Vatican discreet input into selecting some bishops of the registered Catholic Church and an esti­mated 90 percent of registered bishops have reconciled with the Vatican. If ap­pellant wishes to attend an underground church instead of an officially recognized church, the State Department docu­ments provide that individuals who do not participate in the recognized church are generally permitted to worship at home without registration, and in parts of the country, local authorities tacitly approved of or did not interfere with the activities of unregistered groups.

Appellant’s evidence of several iso­lated examples of mistreatment recited in the State Department documents of those who attend unsanctioned Catholic churches or unregistered church do not demonstrate the widespread persecution he needs to satisfy his burden.

Because appellant failed to meet his burden of proof for asylum, we necessar­ily hold that he has not shown he is enti­tled to withholding of removal. He failed to exhaust his administrative remedies on his claim for protection under the CAT.

Tang v. Lynch (Agee) No. 15-1879, Oct. 26, 2016; On Petition for Review; Gary J. Yerman for petitioner; Sarah E. Crockett, USDOJ, for respondent. VLW 026-2-145, 15 pp.