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Flores v. Attorney General United States of America

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

May 8, 2017

PATRICIA YUISEL FLORES, Petitioner
v.
ATTORNEY GENERAL UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent

          Argued: November 17, 2016

         On Petition for Review of a Decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals Immigration Judge: Honorable Leo A. Finston (A089-827-629)

          Marcia Kasdan [ARGUED] Marcia S. Kasdan & Associates Attorney for Petitioner

          Jefferson B. Sessions III United States Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Douglas E. Ginsburg Assistant Director Thomas W. Hussey Andrew B. Insenga [ARGUED] Karen L. Melnick United States Department of Justice Attorneys for Respondent

          Before: AMBRO, SHWARTZ, and FUENTES, Circuit Judges

          OPINION

          FUENTES, Circuit Judge.

         Patricia Flores, a native and citizen of Guatemala, seeks review of a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") that found her ineligible for withholding of removal because she had been convicted of a "particularly serious crime"-namely, she was convicted of accessory after the fact in South Carolina for witnessing, but failing to report, a murder. Flores now petitions for review, contending that her South Carolina conviction does not constitute a "particularly serious crime" under our decision in Denis v. Attorney General, and that she should therefore be eligible for withholding of removal. We agree. Because Flores's South Carolina accessory-after-the-fact conviction is not an offense "relating to obstruction of justice, " it cannot be considered either an "aggravated felony" or a "particularly serious crime" under the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA"). Accordingly, Flores is eligible for withholding of removal.

         I.

         Flores, a Guatemalan native, originally entered the United States with her husband to escape her abusive father. Although her husband traveled with a visa, she entered the country illegally. The two had a daughter together, but subsequently divorced, and Flores entered various relationships with other men and women.

         According to the record on appeal, Flores traveled to South Carolina to visit family in late 2007. While there, she struck up a relationship with a young man, Fredy Sibrian. Unfortunately, this relationship soon deteriorated as Sibrian became increasingly "violent, jealous and possessive, " causing Flores to leave Sibrian.[1] She then traveled to North Carolina, where she met, and started dating, another man, Antonio Perez. When Flores subsequently returned to South Carolina with Perez in April 2008, Sibrian confronted them at a gas station, causing a heated exchange that ended when Sibrian shot and killed Perez. According to Flores, she did not immediately report the murder because Sibrian threatened to kill her and her then-three-year-old daughter if she disclosed Sibrian's actions to the police. Fearing Sibrian's retribution, Flores returned to North Carolina, but she was later arrested and sent back to South Carolina, where she was charged with Perez's murder.

         Flores eventually pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact under South Carolina law[2] and was sentenced to five years' imprisonment. According to Flores's testimony, which the Immigration Judge ("IJ") found credible, she pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact because she failed to report the murder to police. The record does not reflect that Flores covered up the homicide, lied to police or prosecutors, or assisted the shooter in any way.

         After serving about two years of her prison term, Flores was removed to Guatemala. A few months later, however, she re-entered the United States illegally. In 2015, following her arrest for prostitution, Flores was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. During an asylum interview, she stated that she feared returning to Guatemala because: (1) her father, who had physically and sexually abused her as a child, wanted to kill her; (2) she had been raped by members of a local gang immediately following her previous removal to Guatemala; and (3) she feared that she would be persecuted because she is a lesbian. The asylum officer determined that Flores had a reasonable fear of persecution.

         The case was referred to the Immigration Court where Flores filed an application for withholding of removal and relief under the Convention Against Torture ("CAT"). The IJ made two primary findings with respect to Flores. First, the IJ found that Flores's conviction for accessory after the fact was a "particularly serious crime" under the INA, rendering her ineligible for withholding of removal. Second, the IJ found that Flores failed to adequately establish that she would, more likely than not, be subjected to torture in Guatemala, as required to obtain relief under CAT. Flores then appealed to the BIA.

         The BIA dismissed the appeal and affirmed the IJ's decision on both grounds. First, relying on its own decisions and our holding in Denis, [3] the BIA concluded that Flores's accessory-after-the-fact conviction "relat[es] to obstruction of justice, " and therefore constitutes a "particularly serious crime." [4] The BIA also concluded that Flores had not meaningfully challenged the denial of her CAT claim because she failed to produce any purported new evidence in support of her position.

         II.[5]

         Flores now petitions for review of two BIA determinations: (1) that her accessory-after-the-fact conviction is a "particularly serious crime" rendering her ineligible for withholding of removal, [6] and (2) that she did not meaningfully challenge the denial of her CAT claim.[7] We address each in turn.

         A.

         The INA provides that the Attorney General "may not remove an alien to a country if the Attorney General decides that the alien's life or freedom would be threatened in that country."[8] However, such withholding of removal is unavailable if the alien committed a "particularly serious crime" because, in such a case, the alien is considered a "danger to the community of the United States." [9] A "particularly serious crime, " under the INA, includes crimes that are considered "aggravated felon[ies]" for which the alien received a prison sentence of at least five years.[10] The INA's list of aggravated felonies, in turn, includes 21 descriptions of various offenses, including, as relevant here, "offense[s] relating to obstruction of justice, perjury or subornation of perjury, or bribery of a witness" (the "Obstruction Provision").[11] Because Flores was sentenced to five years for her accessory-after-the-fact conviction, the question before us is straightforward: is accessory after the fact "relat[ed] to obstruction of justice"? We now answer that question in the negative.

         1.

         Our inquiry starts, as it must, with our decision in Denis. There, we examined whether an alien's prior New York conviction for tampering with evidence was an "offense relating to obstruction of justice."[12] In doing so, we first explained that we apply the categorical approach of statutory interpretation in determining whether a state conviction constitutes an aggravated felony (and thus a "particularly serious crime") under the INA.[13] This approach involves a comparison between the statute of the alien's prior conviction and the relevant federal crime listed as an aggravated felony, without regard to the underlying facts of the petitioner's offense.[14] If the elements of the alien's statute of conviction are broader than the elements of the aggravated felony crime, then the crime of conviction does not qualify as an aggravated felony. [15] If, however, the elements of the statute of conviction are the same or narrower than the elements of the aggravated felony crime, then the crime of conviction qualifies as an aggravated felony.[16]

         Importantly, unlike other contexts, Denis makes clear that, when applying the categorical approach, we do not strictly compare the elements of the statute of conviction to the elements of the Obstruction Provision's referenced offenses.[17] Instead, we apply a looser categorical approach in light of the Obstruction Provision's statutory text, which states that aggravated felonies include any offense "relating to obstruction of justice."[18] Thus, "rather than ascertaining whether the elements of a [prior] crime of conviction match the elements of a generic federal offense with precision, we must only decide that the [prior] conviction 'relates to' the offense criminalized by [the Obstruction Provision], namely, obstruction of justice."[19] In other words, we "survey the interrelationship between the [crime committed and the relevant obstruction statute], and apply the phrase 'relating to' broadly, seeking a logical or causal connection."[20] As the "prime example" of this "causal connection, " we remarked that "Section 510(b), which criminalizes the knowing exchange of stolen or forged Treasury instruments, " is "related to" forgery, even though it lacks the "essential element" of an intent to defraud or deceive.[21] Similarly, we noted that a conviction for trafficking in counterfeit items constitutes an aggravated felony "relating to" counterfeiting in light of the connection between these two offenses.[22]

         With those principles in mind, we then turned to Denis's prior New York conviction for tampering with evidence. In reviewing the Obstruction Provision, we explained that "Title 18 of the U.S. Code contains a listing of crimes entitled 'obstruction of justice, ' permitting us to easily determine the types of conduct Congress intended the phrase to encompass." [23] Looking at that obstruction-of-justice section of the U.S. Code-Chapter 73, to be precise-we noted that § 1503 and § 1512(c)(1) were most relevant to Denis's conduct.[24] Section 1503 prohibits a person from "corruptly or by threats or force . . . influenc[ing], obstruct[ing], or imped[ing], or endeavor[ing] to influence, obstruct or impede, the due administration of justice."[25] We explained that "Denis's conviction for tampering bears a close resemblance to the federal obstruction of justice offense defined in Section 1503" because "[b]oth Denis's crime of conviction and [the Obstruction Provision], by their terms, proscribe any behavior that entails the use of force in an effort to impede or obstruct an official proceeding, such as through evidence tampering."[26] Likewise, § 1512(c)(1) prohibits the alteration, destruction, mutilation, or concealment of any object that would "impair the object's integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding." [27] Section 1512(c)(1)'s "focus on destroying or mutilating evidentiary items in anticipation of their potential production in a prospective proceeding, " we observed, "is directly analogous, and thus, logically connected to Denis's state crime of conviction."[28]Accordingly, we held that New York's tampering-with-evidence offense "relat[es] to obstruction of justice" as defined in § 1503 and § 1512(c)(1), and therefore constituted an aggravated felony within the meaning of the INA.[29]

         2.

         The Government construes Denis expansively, seeking to extend that decision beyond its central holding in an effort to reach Flores's accessory-after-the-fact conviction.[30] Specifically, the Government argues that: (1) we may use the federal accessory-after-the-fact statute, 18 U.S.C. § 3, as a suitable basis with which to compare Flores's accessory-after-the-fact conviction, rather than the obstruction-of-justice statutes in Chapter 73[31]; and (2) even setting aside the federal accessory-after-the-fact statute, Flores's conviction is connected to "a broad notion of 'obstruction of justice'" [32] and therefore falls within the Obstruction Provision's purview. We reject both contentions.

         The Government first claims that we may look beyond Chapter 73 and compare Flores's conviction to the federal accessory-after-the-fact statute, § 3, in order to determine whether her offense "relat[es] to obstruction of justice." Given the similarities between § 3 and South Carolina accessory after the fact, the Government argues, Flores's prior conviction constitutes obstruction of justice within the meaning of the INA.[33] This argument is unavailing for three reasons.

         First, Denis straightforwardly tells us that we review Chapter 73 to determine whether an alien's prior offense "relat[es] to obstruction of justice." In that case, we scrutinized the Obstruction Provision and explicitly stated that we were "[e]xamining [the alien's] crime of conviction in relation to the federal obstruction of justice offenses codified in Section 1501 et seq. [i.e., Chapter 73]."[34] Nothing in Denis remotely suggested searching the U.S. Code to discover other offenses that might qualify as obstruction-of-justice crimes.

         Second, the text of the Obstruction Provision indicates Congress's intention to reference Chapter 73 and not, as the Government contends, § 3. The Obstruction Provision facially encompasses all "offense[s] relating to obstruction of justice, perjury or subornation of perjury, or bribery of a witness." [35] Importantly, both "perjury and subornation of perjury" and "bribery of a witness" reference specific chapters of Title 18 and, indeed, specific offenses codified therein.[36] The first phrase in the list, "obstruction of justice, " seems to follow this same pattern: while it is not tied to any specific statute, it is identical to the title of Chapter 73, labeled "Obstruction of Justice." As the Supreme Court has recognized, "[t]itles can be useful devices to resolve doubt about the meaning of a statute, " especially where, as here, other aspects of the statute indicate the same result.[37] Given Congress's linking of the textually adjacent terms-"perjury and subornation of perjury" and "bribery of a witness"-with their respective chapters, it seems odd that Congress would not similarly link the first term in the list, "obstruction of justice, " with its identically named chapter. We therefore do not believe Congress engaged in such tortuous drafting.

         Third and relatedly, Congress codified its own accessory-after-the-fact statute at 18 U.S.C. § 3, but it placed that statute outside the provisions related to obstruction of justice.[38] If Congress considered § 3 an obstruction-of-justice offense, it presumably would have placed that statute in Chapter 73, entitled "Obstruction of Justice, " or referenced § 3 in the Obstruction Provision. It did neither.

         Thus, we decline the Government's invitation to look at the federal accessory-after-the-fact offense, 18 U.S.C. § 3, [39] in determining whether Flores's offense "relat[es] to obstruction of justice."

         The Government also argues that, even setting aside § 3, Flores's conviction is connected to "a broad notion of 'obstruction of justice'" and therefore falls within the Obstruction Provision's purview.[40] This argument raises a broader question: how close a connection is required between an alien's prior offense and "obstruction of justice" such that the former may be considered "relating to obstruction of justice"? We answered that question in Denis and we reiterate that holding today: an analysis of specific statutes must be employed to determine whether a "logical or causal connection" exists between an alien's prior offense and a Chapter 73 offense.

         Our case law identifies a spectrum of possible connections that may be made between an alien's prior offense and some federal offense. On one end of the spectrum, we could require a precise match between the elements of alien's prior offense and the elements of one specific federal offense. We rejected this approach in Park, where we faced the question of whether an alien's prior offense for trafficking counterfeited goods under 18 U.S.C. § 2320 was an aggravated felony "relating to . . . counterfeiting." The alien sought to compare his § 2320 conviction with one particular statute, 18 U.S.C. § 471, which "criminalizes falsely making, forging, counterfeiting, or altering any obligation or other security of the United States with intent to defraud."[41] But we precluded such an analysis, noting that the INA's description of offenses "relating to . . . counterfeiting" required us to look beyond one statute and instead examine a class of criminal statutes related to counterfeiting.[42]

         On the other end of the spectrum, we could, as the Government urges, merely require some connection to "broad notions" derived from federal offenses. But this approach was rejected by Denis and would otherwise engender uncertainty among those tasked with applying it. Indeed, the Ninth Circuit rejected a similar interpretation of the Obstruction Provision in Valenzuela Gallardo v. Lynch.[43]That case confronted a new BIA explanation of the Obstruction Provision, which stated that, to qualify as an aggravated felony, accessory-after-the-fact convictions must only involve the "affirmative and intentional attempt, motivated by a specific intent, to interfere with the process of justice, " regardless of the existence of an ongoing investigation or proceeding.[44] The Ninth Circuit declined to follow this interpretation because it "raises serious constitutional concerns about whether the statute is unconstitutionally vague."[45] Specifically, the court found that this "construction leaves grave uncertainty about the plethora of steps before and after an 'ongoing criminal investigation or trial' that comprise 'the process of justice, ' and, hence, uncertainty about which crimes constitute 'obstruction of justice.'"[46] While the Ninth Circuit's decision is not wholly applicable to our case, [47] its point is well taken: adopting a construction of the Obstruction Provision that reaches unknowable offenses [48] based on "broad notion[s] of 'obstruction of justice'" causes confusion for courts, puzzlement for practitioners, and incomprehension for immigrants.[49]

         Recognizing these concerns, Denis adopted a categorical approach somewhere in the middle of the spectrum: while "[w]e need not determine the precise degree of similarity between the elements of [an alien's] offense and a listed federal crime, " [50] we must "survey the interrelationship between the two statutory provisions and apply the phrase 'relating to' broadly, seeking a logical or causal connection."[51] This requirement of a "logical or causal connection" is derived from Bobb, [52] where we adopted the dictionary definition of "relate, " which means "to show or establish a logical or causal connection between." [53] In Bobb, and again in Denis, we stressed the "causality" prong of this definition, explaining by way of example that the knowing exchange of stolen or forged Treasury instruments is "relat[ed] to" forgery because, "but for the forged endorsement, there would be no criminal offense." [54] For similar reasons, we found in Park that a conviction for trafficking in counterfeit items constituted an aggravated felony "relating to . . . counterfeiting."[55] Therefore, a "causal connection" requires a link between the alien's offense and a listed federal crime: without the listed federal offense, the alien's offense could not have occurred.

         A "logical connection" is also defined by Denis. There, we stated that the obstruction-of-justice offense codified at § 1512(c)(1)-which prohibits "corruptly alter[ing], destroy[ing], mutilate[ing], or conceal[ing] a record, document, or other object . . . with the intent to impair the object's integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding"-was "directly analogous, and thus, logically connected" to New York's tampering statute because both statues focus on "destroying or mutilating evidentiary items in anticipation of their potential production in a prospective proceeding."[56] So while the New York statute in Denis and § 1512(c)(1) are not a perfect match in terms of prohibited conduct, Denis makes clear that the Obstruction Provision does not require a precise matching of elements given its reference to offenses "relating to obstruction of justice." It is enough that the two crimes target the same, core criminal conduct such that they are "directly analogous."[57]

         Accordingly, we reject the Government's position and reaffirm Denis's central holding: to determine whether a petitioner's prior offense constitutes an aggravated felony "relating to obstruction of justice, " we apply a categorical approach, seeking a "logical or causal connection" between an alien's offense and a relevant Chapter 73 offense. "Logical" means that both an alien's statute of conviction and a Chapter 73 statute are directly analogous; "causal" means that, but for a Chapter 73 offense, the alien's offense could not have occurred.

         3.

         Applying this framework reveals that Flores's accessory-after-the-fact conviction is not "relat[ed] to obstruction of justice." In South Carolina, accessory after the fact occurs where the defendant, knowing that a principal has committed a felony, "harbor[s] or assist[s] the principal felon . . . for the purpose of enabling the principal felon to escape detection or arrest."[58] We must compare this South Carolina offense to the federal obstruction offenses listed in Chapter 73 to determine whether Flores's conviction is "relat[ed] to obstruction of justice." Of those offenses, only § 1503 and § 1512(c)(2) contain language that could arguably encompass accessory after the fact.

         Section 1503(a) includes a "catchall" provision prohibiting a person from "corruptly or by threats or force . . . influenc[ing], obstruct[ing], or imped[ing], or endeavor[ing] to influence, obstruct or impede, the due administration of justice."[59] In Denis, we explained that a New York statute prohibiting intentionally tampering with physical evidence to prevent its use in an official proceeding[60] was sufficiently connected to § 1503 to constitute an aggravated felony because both statutes "by their terms, proscribe any behavior that entails the use of force in an effort to impede or obstruct an official proceeding, such as through evidence tampering."[61]

         But Flores's conviction does not bear this same type of resemblance to § 1503 and it is therefore not logically or causally connected to accessory after the fact. With respect to a logical connection, both the mens rea ("corruptly or by threats or force") and actus reus ("influence[], obstruct[] or impede[] . . . the due administration of justice") of § 1503 focus on a defendant's intent and actions with respect to "the due administration of justice." The "due administration of justice, " we have held, refers to "a judicial proceeding, " and not "some ancillary proceeding, distinct from a judicial proceeding such as an investigation independent of the court's authority."[62] In stark contrast, the mens rea (intending "the principal felon to escape detection or arrest") and actus reus ("harbor[ing] or assist[ing] the principal felon") of Flores's South Carolina offense focus not on a defendant's intent and actions regarding a particular judicial proceeding, but on the principal of a crime.[63] Put another way, these two offenses target completely different criminal conduct. Indeed, there are infinite actions a defendant may undertake with the intent to aid the principal after the commission of a crime, but before the commencement of judicial proceedings, none of which would constitute a violation of § 1503, and all of which could constitute accessory after the fact.[64] So while Denis makes clear that the elements of an alien's offense and a Chapter 73 offense need not match precisely to fall within the Obstruction Provision, [65] they must be "directly analogous" such that a "logical connection" exists. In light of the widely divergent elements between accessory after the fact and § 1503, however, we find no such connection here.[66]

         With respect to a causal connection, Flores's accessory-after-the-fact offense does not form the basis of a § 1503 conviction, and a § 1503 offense does not form the basis of an accessory-after-the-fact conviction. As discussed, these crimes are independent: one may be convicted under § 1503 without ever aiding a principal felon, and one may be convicted of South Carolina accessory after the fact without ever interfering with a judicial proceeding. Thus, no causal connection exists.

         A similar analysis applies to § 1512(c)(2). That provision makes conduct criminal where one "corruptly . . . otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so."[67] We did not address § 1512(c)(2) in Denis, but we stated that § 1512(c)(1)-which prohibits "corruptly alter[ing], destroy[ing], mutilat[ing], or conceal[ing] a record, document, or other object . . . with the intent to impair the object's integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding"-is "directly analogous, and thus, logically connected" to New York's tampering statute because both statues focus on "destroying or mutilating evidentiary items in anticipation of their potential production in a prospective proceeding."[68]

         The same cannot be said of Flores's accessory-after-the fact conviction and § 1512(c)(2). As a threshold matter, § 1512(c)(2) references "any official proceeding, " not a judicial proceeding or the "the due administration of justice" as in § 1503. However, this difference is immaterial under United States v. Tyler, [69] which held that "in any prosecution brought under a § 1512 provision charging obstruction of justice involving an 'official proceeding, ' the government is required to prove a nexus between the defendant's conduct and a particular official proceeding before a judge or court of the United States that the defendant contemplated."[70] Section 1512(c)(2)-which involves "any official proceeding"-clearly falls under our holding in Tyler [71] and, therefore, we apply a nexus requirement to § 1512(c)(2).[72]

         With § 1512(c)(2)'s nexus requirement in mind, our analysis of this statute closely mirrors our analysis of § 1503, as § 1512(c)(2) is neither logically nor causally connected to accessory after the fact. With respect to a logical connection, both the mens rea ("corruptly") and actus reus ("obstruct[], influence[], or impede[] any official proceeding") of § 1512(c)(2) focus on a defendant's intent and actions concerning a judicial proceeding. As noted previously, accessory after the fact, in contrast, contains mens rea and actus reus elements directed toward a defendant's intent and actions regarding the principal of a crime, not a judicial proceeding. Accordingly, as with § 1503, the widely divergent elements between accessory after the fact and § 1512(c)(2) demonstrate that no logical connection exists.

         Likewise, no causal connection exists between accessory after the fact and § 1512(c)(2): Flores's accessory-after-the-fact offense does not form the basis of a § 1512(c)(2) conviction, and a § 1512(c)(2) offense does not form the basis of an accessory-after-the-fact conviction. Thus, like § 1503, no causal connection exists.

         Our conclusion that the Obstruction Provision does not capture Flores's South Carolina conviction is further bolstered by a straightforward review of the Obstruction Provision's statutory text and legislative history. Indeed, at bottom, the categorical approach conducted today is merely a tool of statutory interpretation[73] used to avoid "the practical difficulties and potential unfairness of a factual approach" when analyzing prior convictions.[74] The categorical approach is not talismanic; it does not eclipse or alter our other methods of statutory interpretation. As always, our "primary purpose in statutory interpretation is to discern legislative intent."[75]

         The Obstruction Provision, on its face, includes all "offense[s] relating to obstruction of justice, perjury or subornation of perjury, or bribery of a witness."[76] The term "obstruction of justice" is not alone, but listed in conjunction with "perjury or subornation of perjury" and "bribery of a witness." "[T]his informs our understanding of Congress's intended interpretation of 'obstruction of justice.'"[77] So while "obstruction of justice" may, at its most expansive, be taken to include offenses wholly divorced from any judicial proceeding, [78] the other offenses listed therewith-"perjury or subornation of perjury" and "bribery of a witness"-relate only to conduct that impedes a judicial proceeding.[79] Under such circumstances, the noscitur a sociis canon[80] counsels toward a narrower definition of "obstruction of justice" that does not reach conduct unmoored from judicial proceedings.

         Moreover, in adding certain categories of offenses, like the Obstruction Provision, to the list of aggravated felonies in 1996, Congress made an effort "to ensure that the overall reach of the definition would be consistent with the sentencing guidelines."[81] Specifically, "[w]ith only certain limited exceptions, " Congress "attempted to ensure that all of the crimes defined as aggravated felonies carry a base offense level of at least 12, " in order "to ensure that only the most serious crimes . . . render the alien deportable."[82] But in the United States Sentencing Guidelines of the time, "Obstruction of Justice" had a base offense level of 12, [83] while "Accessory After the Fact" had a base offense level as low as 4.[84] This lends further support to the proposition that Congress did not intend accessory-after-the-fact offenses to be considered aggravated felonies.[85]

         Consistent with Denis's categorical approach, and our review of the relevant statutory text and legislative history, we conclude that Flores's South Carolina accessory-after-the-fact conviction is not an offense "relating to obstruction of justice" and therefore constitutes neither an aggravated felony nor a "particularly serious crime" under the INA. She is therefore eligible for withholding of removal.

         B.

         Flores also seeks review of the BIA's denial of her CAT application. An applicant for CAT relief must show that it is more likely than not that she would be tortured if she were removed to her home country, [86] and that such torture would be "inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of" a public official.[87] Before both the IJ and the BIA, Flores asserted that it was "more likely than not" that she would face torture if removed. Before the BIA, Flores also stated that she obtained new evidence that her father sought to murder her. But the BIA observed that she never provided this new evidence and concluded that she failed to "meaningfully challenge[ ] . . . the [IJ's] denial of her application for" CAT relief.[88]

         In this appeal, Flores does not meaningfully dispute the BIA's conclusion that she failed to appeal the IJ's ruling on her CAT claim.[89] As a result, she did not exhaust her CAT ...


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