Petition for Review of a Decision of the Board of Immigration
Appeals Agency No. A088-023-457
WILLIAM PRYOR and JULIE CARNES, Circuit Judges, and ANTOON,
WILLIAM PRYOR, Circuit Judge
petition for review requires us to decide whether substantial
evidence supports the decision of the Board of Immigration
Appeals that Che Eric Sama did not suffer past persecution by
the Cameroonian police and that he lacked a well-founded fear
of future persecution. Sama, a native and citizen of
Cameroon, filed the petition to review the denial of his
applications for asylum, 8 U.S.C. § 1158, and for
withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality
Act, id.§ 1231(b)(3), and under the United
Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman
and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 8 C.F.R. §
208.16. Sama contends that the record compels findings that
he suffered persecution and that he had a well-founded fear
of being singled out for future persecution for associating
with two gay friends and posting a message in a university
publication condemning the treatment of gay individuals. But
we disagree. The Board was entitled to find that any
mistreatment that Sama suffered did not rise to the level of
persecution, to find that the police investigated his
mistreatment, and to rely on country reports published by the
State Department that state that conditions in Cameroon are
improving for gay individuals. Sama also argues that the
Board denied him due process when it weighed his evidence.
But due process required only notice and an opportunity to be
heard, and Sama received both. We deny Sama's petition
appeal arises from Che Eric Sama's most recent attempt to
enter the United States. He testified that he has applied for
various kinds of visas "about five times" and that
he "was banned from applying again" because he
submitted a bank statement that "was not original."
This time, he came to the United States seeking asylum, 8
U.S.C. § 1158, and withholding of removal under the
Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1231(b)(3),
and the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other
Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 8
C.F.R. § 208.16, after a friend in Nigeria told him that
he "could get out of the country and apply for asylum
where [he] w[ould] be safe."
2015, Sama posted a message in a university publication in
Cameroon "supporting homosexuality and asking for equal
rights for homosexuals." He testified that he protested
the expulsion of two friends, Fai David and David's
partner, and wrote: "They kick them out and they are all
created by God. Why, why don't you allow their
rights?" In response, the police issued a warrant for
Sama's arrest that charged him with "[t]he posting
of an article on [g]ay right[s] on the [s]chool [b]oard"
and "[c]arrying out [h]omosexual [a]ctivities."
to Sama, an "anti-gay group" attacked him at the
end of November because he posted "homosexual
things." While he was walking home after class, four men
pushed him to the ground, "cut [his] neck, " and
warned him that he "should stop [his] homosexual
activities." The men told him that, "if [he] d[id]
[not] stop . . ., they [we]re going to kill [him] next time
they s[aw] [him.]"
students secured transportation for Sama to a hospital, where
he was treated for "[w]ounds and a big cut on [his]
neck, " a "[h]ead ache and [s]wollen face, "
"[s]erious [b]leeding, " and other symptoms of an
"assault." While he was being treated, the hospital
called the police, who came to the hospital and took a
statement from Sama about the attack. Although the warrant
for his arrest remained outstanding, the police did not
arrest him then. But his attackers were never found, which
led Sama to conclude in his application for asylum that
"[no] investigation was done."
November 25, 2015, the hospital discharged Sama, and he went
to live with his cousin "on the outskirts" of town.
On December 6, he returned to his mother's house to
retrieve some belongings. While he was collecting his things,
an unknown individual threw a brick through the window of his
room. The brick was inscribed with the message "we
don't want gays in our community." Sama did not
testify that he reported this incident to the police.
days later, the police attempted to execute the warrant for
his arrest at his mother's house. When his mother refused
to tell the police where Sama was, they arrested and detained
her. She was released after "about two days."
point, news sources reported that David was murdered.
According to the news, the police were "making no
efforts to find his killers." And Sama speculated that
David's partner might have been kidnapped and that
"he or his body has not been found."
December 7, Sama began his journey to the United States. He
first flew to Nigeria, but he left after a friend warned him
that he would not be safe there. Sama then traveled to
Mexico, where his passport was stolen, and took a bus and a
taxi to the United States border. The Department of Homeland
Security charged Sama as an alien seeking admission without a
valid entry document, see 8 U.S.C. §
1182(a)(7)(A)(i)(I), and Sama sought asylum.
removal hearing, Sama introduced evidence to support his
claims of persecution. He testified that he left Cameroon
because his "life was in danger." He stated that
"[t]he police were looking for [him] and the anti-gay
group wanted to kill [him] and [he] was not safe at
all." He also explained that "homosexuals are
treated badly, " "are not recognized by the
community, " and "are perceived as evil" in
Cameroon. And Sama testified that he is not gay but ...