FOR REVIEW OF AN ORDER OF THE BOARD OF IMMIGRATION APPEALS
Charles Maroun, Jr. and Maroun & Cabelus LLC on brief for
Benjamin C. Mizer, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney
General, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice,
John S. Hogan, Assistant Director, Office of Immigration
Litigation, and Ashley Martin, Trial Attorney, Office of
Immigration Litigation, on brief for respondent.
Thompson, Selya and Stahl, Circuit Judges.
petitioner, Douglas Jimmy Bbale, seeks judicial review of a
final decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA),
which denied his motion to reopen removal proceedings.
Discerning no abuse of the BIA's broad discretion, we
deny the petition.
petitioner, a Ugandan national, was admitted to the United
States as a visitor for a six-month period that expired on
November 22, 2000. He overstayed, and almost nine years
elapsed before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
instituted removal proceedings against him.
petitioner initially pursued an application to adjust his
status to that of a lawful permanent resident based on a
petition filed by his citizen-spouse. That strategy backfired
when, on December 5, 2011, United States Citizenship and
Immigration Services issued a notice of intent to revoke the
petition, citing inconsistencies in the testimony of the
petitioner and his wife.
withdrawing his adjustment application, the petitioner
applied for asylum and withholding of removal. His claim for
asylum was predicated on an asserted fear of persecution in
Uganda premised on genuine and imputed political opinion.
Specifically, he alleged that in April of 1998, his father
was imprisoned - and ultimately never seen again - because he
was an active member of the Democratic Party of Uganda, a
political party that opposed the Ugandan President, Yoweri
Museveni. He added that between 1998 and 1999, he himself was
detained by Ugandan police on four occasions. Withal, he was
not physically harmed and the longest period he was detained
was one day. The petitioner also suggested that his more
recent political activities would subject him to persecution
in Uganda: while living in the United States, the petitioner
has organized and participated in anti-Museveni
petitioner also averred that in 2009 his brother was arrested
in Uganda on a murder charge. The petitioner branded this
arrest as bogus, contending that the Museveni government had
fabricated allegations that his brother was practicing voodoo
and witchcraft on small children, including child sacrifice.
Although the brother was initially acquitted, he was
subsequently convicted and remains in prison. According to
the petitioner, both the arrest and prosecution were
politically motivated, and his brother is innocent.
petitioner conceded removability in 2012 and later testified
at a merits hearing in the immigration court on January 27,
2014. At the conclusion of the hearing, the immigration judge
(IJ) denied the petitioner's applications for asylum and
withholding of removal in a bench decision. The IJ denied the
asylum application as untimely, noting that the petitioner
had not alleged changed or extraordinary circumstances that
could justify the 13-year delay in seeking asylum. The IJ
also concluded that the petitioner had failed to establish
his eligibility for withholding of removal.
petitioner appealed to the BIA. He argued that he did not
apply earlier for asylum because he was not then aware of
either the filing deadline or the severity of his
brother's circumstances. With respect to withholding of
removal, he argued that the IJ had failed to consider the
connection between the accusations of witchcraft against his
brother and the petitioner's membership in a family now
associated with witchcraft. On June 10, 2015, the BIA
rejected these arguments and dismissed the petitioner's
petitioner did not seek judicial review of the BIA's
decision but, on August 10, 2015, moved to reopen removal
proceedings. The petitioner submitted that a key witness -
his niece - had been unable to testify at his merits hearing
because she was mentally incapacitated due to the
psychological trauma that she suffered as a result of her
father's (the petitioner's brother's) immurement.
He added ...