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Ntangsi v. Holder

February 9, 2009

CHANTAL NAYOH NTANGSI, PETITIONER,
v.
ERIC H. HOLDER, JR., ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,*FN1 RESPONDENT.



Petition for Review from an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Riley, Circuit Judge.

Submitted: November 14, 2008

Before MURPHY, HANSEN, and RILEY, Circuit Judges.

Chantal Nayoh Ntangsi (Ntangsi), a native and citizen of Cameroon, seeks review of a final order of removal issued by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the Immigration Judge's (IJ) decision finding Ntangsi removable as charged and denying her application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). We deny the petition for review.

I. BACKGROUND

Ntangsi attempted to enter the United States through Miami, Florida, on September 2, 1999. That same day, Ntangsi was charged with being removable for failing to possess a valid entry document and because she was likely to become a public charge because she had no financial means of support. On February 21, 2002, Ntangsi was also charged with being an alien who sought to enter the United States by fraud.

Ntangsi applied for asylum on June 13, 2000, claiming she was seeking asylum on the basis of political opinion. Ntangsi stated her father was an active and vocal member of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) and that he was arrested in March of 1995 at an SDF rally. As a result of her father's arrest, Ntangsi claimed military officers came to Ntangsi's house and beat Ntangsi and her family, requiring the family to undergo one week of hospitalization. Ntangsi declared her father was also arrested later in 1995 and again on January 16, 1996, when he was detained for a month and tortured. Ntangsi asserted her father lost his job with the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC), a governmental agency in Cameroon, because of the detention, and had to return to a village to farm and raise livestock.

Ntangsi maintains she is not a member of the SDF. However, Ntangsi reported she was arrested and beaten on May 20, 1999, when she and eight other students at Unity College refused to march wearing uniforms of the ruling political party in Cameroon, and wore SDF uniforms instead. Ntangsi stated she and the other students were detained for three days in a single cell and released after affixing fingerprints to a statement.

Ntangsi also contended her uncle published a newspaper article on June 18, 1999, that was critical of the government. When the police came looking for her uncle, he was not home. When the police returned a second time, Ntangsi claims the police told her about her uncle's article and arrested Ntangsi, explaining she was being arrested in place of her uncle so her uncle would report himself to the police. Ntangsi testified she was beaten, kicked, raped by two policemen, and released after two days in detention. The police allegedly told her they would return to look for her uncle and if they did not find him they would arrest Ntangsi again and detain her forever. Ntangsi asserts she went to a Franciscan convent, where she stayed for two months before the nuns arranged her flight to the United States.

In support of her application for asylum, Ntangsi submitted evidence, including a letter from her father dated January 10, 2001, stating he earned a living raising livestock after he lost his job with the CDC in 1997. Ntangsi also submitted a letter from Chi Nubila Frida (Nubila), a nurse who reported she treated Ntangsi and her family at the hospital after they were beaten.

On February 25, 2003, the IJ issued a written decision finding Ntangsi was removable on the three charges of removability. The IJ also made an adverse credibility finding, noting Ntangsi's testimony about her father's employment history was inconsistent with documentary evidence. The documentary evidence included a United States Embassy investigation indicatingNtangsi's father remained employed at the CDC during the period of time Ntangsi claimed he was raising livestock. The government also submitted Ntangsi's father's leave statements and career record. In contrast to Ntangsi's testimony she was not a member of the SDF, a letter from the SDF stated Ntangsi was a member. Finally, the IJ determined Ntangsi failed to corroborate her claim with either her uncle's article or with a letter from the convent or the nuns.

On February 6, 2004, at both parties' request, the BIA remanded the decision so the IJ could consider newly submitted evidence. The government submitted a document from the United States Embassy investigation stating the Embassy's fraud investigator contacted the Director of Limbe General Hospital, where Ntangsi and her family were allegedly treated. According to the hospital director, Nubila worked as a nurse at the hospital, but Nubila would have had no authority to sign such a document on behalf of the hospital. The hospital director also checked the hospital's records and told the Embassy investigator he was unable to find records on the names mentioned in Nubila's attestation. The hospital director considered Nubila's attestation false. In response, Ntangsi submitted another attestation from Nubila who repeated the claim she had treated Ntangsi and her family at the hospital and discussed the hospital's poor record keeping. Ntangsi also submitted a letter from her father stating he was fired from the CDC in 1997 and reinstated in 2001.

The IJ issued an oral opinion on June 28, 2006, finding Ntangsi removable as charged and denying her application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the CAT. The IJ again made an adverse credibility finding. The IJ noted the inconsistency between Ntangsi's testimony her father was fired from his job because of his political affiliations and the government's evidence Ntangsi's father had been employed by the CDC almost continuously for many years. The IJ rejected Ntangsi's claim she was unaware of her father's continued employment with the CDC. The IJ also noted the contradictory evidence regarding Ntangsi's claimed medical treatment and Ntangsi's claim she was not a member of the SDF. The IJ observed Ntangsi failed to provide any documentation supporting her claim that her uncle wrote an article that was the cause of her alleged arrest, despite the fact that the Cameroon Herald is a well recognized newspaper and the article should be available. The IJ also found it significant Ntangsi provided no corroboration for her claim from the Franciscan nuns, who played a crucial role in her escape from Cameroon, and with whom she allegedly hid for two months. Based on these findings, the IJ denied Ntangsi's application for asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT protection.

Ntangsi appealed the IJ's decision to the BIA, challenging the IJ's adverse credibility finding and arguing the IJ relied on irrelevant factors and ignored evidence. Ntangsi also contended the IJ erred by relying on documents produced during the overseas investigation, claiming the investigation was unreliable. The BIA dismissed Ntangsi's appeal and affirmed the IJ's finding Ntangsi lacked credibility and failed to meet her burden of proof. The BIA also determined the IJ properly considered a United States Embassy report finding Ntangsi's father held his employment with the CDC much later than Ntangsi alleged. Ntangsi now challenges the adverse ...


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