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Singh v. Lynch

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

October 14, 2015

Amardeep Singh, also known as Amardeep Simngh, Petitioner
v.
Loretta E. Lynch, Attorney General of the United States, Respondent

Submitted September 10, 2015.

Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals.

For Amardeep Singh, also known as: Amardeep Simngh, Petitioner: David J. Chapmanm, Chapman Immigration Law Group, Fargo, ND.

For Loretta E. Lynch, Attorney General of the United States, Respondent: Scott Baniecke, U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service, Bloomington, MN; John Blakeley, Assistant Director, Carl H. McIntyre, Enitan Otunia, Trial Attorney, Karen Yolanda Drummond, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Office of Immigration Litigation, Washington, DC.

Before RILEY, Chief Judge, BENTON and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 989

RILEY, Chief Judge.

Amardeep Singh, a native and citizen of India, petitions for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (Board) affirming an immigration judge's (IJ) denial of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the

Page 990

Convention Against Torture (CAT). Singh also challenges the Board's rejection of his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. We deny the petition for review.

I. BACKGROUND

In August 2011, Singh entered the United States near Hidalgo, Texas, without a valid visa or other entry document. See 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(7)(A)(i)(I) (documentation requirements). Singh is a Sikh and a member of the Shirmoani Akali Dal Amritsar party led by Sardar Simranjit Singh Mann (Mann Party). When detained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Singh asserted he feared persecution by the rival India Congress Party (Congress Party) if returned to India. Singh told a DHS asylum officer that members of the Congress Party had twice beaten him for refusing to switch parties. The officer found Singh had " a credible fear of persecution" for his political opinion and referred Singh's application for further consideration. Id. § 1225(b)(1)(A)(ii), (B)(ii).

On September 9, 2011, DHS initiated removal proceedings. Conceding removability, Singh applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT protection. See id. § § 1158(b)(1)(A), 1231(b)(3)(A); 8 C.F.R. § 1208.16(c). On March 21, 2012, the IJ continued Singh's removal hearing to permit Singh to obtain new counsel. Singh's retained counsel did not attend the rescheduled removal hearing on November 13, 2012, despite a promise to do so, instead sending an unprepared associate to appear for Singh. The IJ chastised counsel for not being ready to proceed, but granted another continuance--though shorter than counsel sought.

At the rescheduled hearing on December 5, 2012, Singh testified through an interpreter that he was a farmer in India and a low-level member of the Mann Party. Singh reported he fled India for the United States because he feared persecution for his political views. Singh again described two instances where he had been attacked and beaten by members of the Congress Party who told him to disavow the ...


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