Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Benton, Circuit Judge.
Submitted: October 16, 2012
Before LOKEN, SMITH, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.
Kyna La appeals the final order of the Board of Immigration Appeals denying her claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture. Having jurisdiction under 8 U.S.C. § 1252, this court affirms.
La, a Cambodian citizen, entered the United States in 2003 on a six-month visitor visa but overstayed. In 2004, she requested asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture, based on her fear of political persecution in Cambodia.
La testified before the immigration judge that she and her husband, Heng Lim, belonged to the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), an opposition party. La donated money and made placards and banners; Lim, though not a leader, traveled and recruited. At one point, Lim was beaten and jailed three days for demonstrating. An anonymous caller warned La that she might lose family members if she continued to participate in the SRP. She explained that though it concerned her, such calls were common enough that she felt it was normal and "didn't think that anything major would happen." While La was in the United States in 2003, Lim went missing during an SRP trip. Neither he nor his car were found; La maintains that he was killed for his political activities. In April 2004, the Cambodian government ordered her to appear in court. In June 2004, police issued a warrant for her arrest, posting her picture in her neighborhood. La asserts that she would be arrested if removed to Cambodia. Her children (who are not SRP members) continue to live in her home, operating her business without trouble.
During the removal proceedings, the Department of Homeland Security investigated the documents La submitted supporting her application for asylum. The investigation included showing a Phnom Penh municipal official a copy of Lim's death certificate, and a Notice of Agreement indicating his disappearance.
The immigration judge found La generally credible but denied her claims, finding that she did not establish past persecution, a well-founded fear of future persecution, or a sufficient likelihood of torture if removed to Cambodia. The BIA dismissed her appeal.
La argues that the immigration judge and the BIA erred in denying her claims because she demonstrated past persecution, a well-founded fear of future persecution, and a sufficient likelihood of torture. She also contends that the DHS investigation violated her confidentiality, and that the immigration judge considered untrustworthy evidence, violating her due process rights.
"Where the BIA has adopted the IJ's opinion and added reasoning and analysis of its own, we review both decisions." Khrystotodorov v. Mukasey, 551 F.3d 775, 781 (8th Cir. 2008). "We review the determination regarding eligibility for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the CAT for substantial evidence, which is an extremely deferential standard of review." Id. Reversal under that standard requires evidence "so compelling that no reasonable fact-finder could fail to find for" La. Nadeem v. Holder, 599 F.3d 869, 872 (8th Cir. 2010), citing INS v. EliasZacarias, 502 U.S. 478, 483-84 (1992).
The Attorney General has discretion to grant asylum to an alien unwilling to return to her home country "because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion." 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101(a)(42)(A), 1158(b)(1). Persecution "is an 'extreme concept' that involves the infliction or threat of death, torture, or injury to one's person or freedom, on account of a protected characteristic." Malonga v. Holder, 621 F.3d 757, 764 (8th Cir. 2010), quoting Sholla v. Gonzales, 492 F.3d 946, 951 (8th Cir. 2007). It "does not encompass low-level intimidation and harassment." Gutierrez-Olivares v. Mukasey, 533 F.3d 946, 949 (8th Cir. 2008). A single death threat can establish persecution, but threats that "are exaggerated, non-specific, or lacking in immediacy" may be insufficient. Corado v. Ashcroft, 384 F.3d 945, 947-48 (8th Cir. 2004) (per curiam). "Moreover, the ...