Watung v. Atty Gen USA ( 2011 )

  •                                                                 NOT PRECEDENTIAL
                            UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
                                 FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT
                                           No. 06-3015
                                MARTHEN WENNY WATONG,
                           On Petition for Review of an Order of the
                                Board of Immigration Appeals
                                  (Agency No. A96-427-462)
                         Immigration Judge: Honorable Annie S. Garcy
                        Submitted Pursuant to Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a)
                                       February 4, 2011
                  Before: SLOVITER, CHAGARES and WEIS, Circuit Judges
                                (Opinion filed February 7, 2011)
                  Petitioner seeks review of the decision of the Board of Immigration
    Appeals (“BIA”) dismissing his appeal from the Immigration Judge’s (“IJ”) denial of his
    application for relief. For the reasons that follow, we will deny the petition for review.
                  Marthen Wenny Watong,1 a Christian Indonesian citizen born in Manado,
    Indonesia, sought asylum, withholding of removal, relief under the Convention Against
    Torture (“CAT”), and voluntary departure. He asserted that people from Manado have
    lighter complexions than many Indonesians and certain characteristics generally
    attributed to ethnic Chinese. Watong therefore based his claim for relief on his position
    that he has been and will continue to be persecuted as a Christian perceived to be an
    ethnic Chinese.
                  In support of his application, Watong testified that during the riots of May
    1998, his wife was forced to spend the night at her workplace and he resorted to dressing
    himself and his wife as Muslims in order to return home safely. Watong does not allege
    that he or his wife was specifically targeted during these riots or that they were physically
    harmed in any way. Watong further testified that in August 2000, he was beaten and
    threatened by a neighbor named Abdullah, allegedly because of his religion and
    perceived ethnicity. He maintained that Abdullah threatened to kill him if he remained
    anywhere in Indonesia and testified that he believes that Abdullah is still looking for him
    and will kill him if he returns to Indonesia. He did not report this incident to the police.
                  The IJ assumed that Watong’s asylum application was timely filed, and
    proceeded to a decision on the merits. The IJ concluded that Watong had not
    demonstrated either that he had suffered past persecution or that he had a well-founded
      Petitioner’s name is alternately spelled “Watong” and “Watung” in the record. We
    refer to him here as “Watong” -- the spelling reflected on our docket.
    fear of future persecution. The IJ further found that Watong had not satisfied the more
    stringent requirements for withholding of removal or CAT relief. The IJ granted his
    application for voluntary departure. The BIA affirmed, agreeing with the IJ that Watong
    failed to establish that he suffered mistreatment that rose to the level of persecution.
                  We have jurisdiction over this petition for review pursuant to 8 U.S.C.
    § 1252. We review factual findings for “substantial evidence,” such that they must be
    upheld unless the evidence not only supports a contrary conclusion, but compels it. See
    Abdille v. Ashcroft, 
    242 F.3d 477
    , 483-84 (3d Cir. 2001). We review legal
    determinations de novo. See Kaplun v. Attorney Gen., 
    602 F.3d 260
    , 265 (3d Cir. 2010).
                  To be granted asylum, Watong was required to show that he is “unable or
    unwilling to return to [Indonesia] . . . 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); 8 U.S.C. § 1158. To be eligible
    for withholding of removal, Watong must have demonstrated that it is more likely than
    not that his life would be threatened in Indonesia based on one of these protected
    grounds. See 8 U.S.C. § 1231(b)(3)(A). For relief under the CAT, Watong must have
    proven that it is more likely than not that he would be tortured if removed to Indonesia.
    See 8 C.F.R. § 1208.16(c)(2).
                  Based on the testimony and other evidence in the record, we agree that
    Watong failed to meet his burden of proving past persecution or a well-founded fear of
    future persecution. See Lie v. Ashcroft, 
    396 F.3d 530
    , 535-37 (3d Cir. 2005).
    Furthermore, Watong did not allege any incidents or likelihood of torture, and thus
    cannot meet the criteria for relief under the CAT. See Zubeda v. Ashcroft, 
    333 F.3d 463
    472 (3d Cir. 2003). For the reasons set forth, we will deny the Petition for Review.