On Petition for Review of an Order Of the Board of Immigration Appeals. INS No. A26-578-238
Before: Wright, Fletcher And Canby, Circuit Judges.
Clement C. Nwabueze petitions pro se for review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that was entered after a remand from this court. On remand, the BIA again denied Nwabueze's application for suspension of deportation and his motion to reopen deportation proceedings. We have jurisdiction under 8 U.S.C. § 1105a(a), and we affirm.
We vacated the BIA's prior decision because it failed to give explicit consideration to the non-economic consequences of breaking up Nwabueze's family, in the event he were deported to Nigeria. Nwabueze v. INS, No. 91-70419, slip. op. at 5-6, 7 (9th Cir. Sept. 24, 1992) (Nwabueze I) (unpublished Disposition). We observed that the emotional impact of a separation is relevant to whether an "extreme hardship" exists that might justify suspending deportation. Id. at 4-5 (interpreting 8 U.S.C. § 1254(a)(1)). We further noted that identifying the equities in favor of and against reopening required an examination of the separation factor. Id. at 6 (applying Jen Hung Ng. v. INS, 804 F.2d 534, 538 (9th Cir. 1986)). Nwabueze's current wife and stepson are each American citizens, and might well remain in the United States if he were deported.
We are satisfied that the BIA considered the separation factor on remand. The BIA examined the record for evidence which described the emotional ties that bind Nwabueze and his family. It gave Nwabueze an opportunity to present additional evidence. [See C.A.R. 12; C.A.R. 14-17; Pet. Brief 12-14.] Although he made new arguments challenging his deportability, he added nothing new about his relationship with his family. Nwabueze bore the burden of demonstrating extreme hardship and that he merits discretionary relief. See Ramirez-Durazo v. INS, 794 F.2d 491, 497 (9th Cir. 1986) (involving application for suspension); INS v. Abudu, 485 U.S. 94, 110 (1988) (involving motion to reopen).
The record, as it stands, offers little to show that Nwabueze's deportation would have an extraordinary emotional impact upon his family. Mrs. Nwabueze stated in a one-page affidavit that "we need one another and we serve well as husband and wife in the marital union." [C.A.R. 185.] However, she described the consequences of separation specifically in economic terms. A minister and a friend each said Nwabueze is a "family man," but neither elaborated. [C.A.R. 5, 188.] Mrs. Nwabueze had filed a petition to permit her husband to stay in the United States, but that document implies nothing about the strength of their relationship. Finally, Nwabueze's own testimony described the potential impact of separation almost exclusively in terms of economic loss. [C.A.R. 142-147.]
Extreme emotional hardship involves more than the fact of separation itself and the usual degree of emotional distress that separation can be expected to cause. Hassan v. INS, 927 F.2d 465, 468 (9th Cir. 1991). Furthermore, a hardship finding requires proof of significant actual or potential injury. Id. We agree with the BIA that Nwabueze has failed to meet either criterion.
Accordingly, we affirm the BIA's decision that Nwabueze fails to qualify for suspended deportation under 8 U.S.C. § 1254(a)(1).*fn1 We further conclude that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to reopen. See Jen Hung Ng, 804 F.2d at 538. Nwabueze raises other challenges to his deportation, but we have either rejected them before or we now find them wholly without merit.*fn2