Alturo, et al v. US Attorney General, No. 12-15647 (11th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Petitioner, a Colombian national, petitioned for review of a final order of the BIA affirming the denial of his application for asylum and withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1101, and withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The BIA concluded that petitioner provided material support to a designated terrorist organization, the AUC, in the form of six annual payments of $300 in war taxes. Alternatively, the BIA found that petitioner's claims for relief failed on the merits. The court concluded that the BIA's factual finding that petitioner paid $1,800 to a designated terrorist organization was supported by substantial evidence; the fact that the AUC was demobilized in 2006 did not render the material support bar inapplicable; it was not relevant whether petitioner knew, or should have known, that the AUC was deemed a terrorist organization; the BIA's legal determinations that the funds provided by petitioner constituted "material support" within the meaning of the statutory bar and that the statute did not contain a duress exception were permissible constructions of the INA to which the court must defer; and the BIA reasonably concluded that the statutory bar did not exempt material support provided to a terrorist organization under duress. Accordingly, the court denied the petition.