The panel granted a petition for review of the denial of a motion to reconsider or reopen a negative reasonable fear determination in reinstatement removal proceedings. An immigration judge affirmed an asylum officer’s determination that petitioner failed to establish a reasonable fear of persecution in reinstatement removal proceedings. Petitioner filed a motion to reconsider or reopen, which the IJ denied. Rather than directly petitioning this court for review, petitioner filed an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the Board dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. Petitioner then filed the present petition for review within 30 days of the Board’s decision. The panel first held that this court has jurisdiction over petitions for review from negative reasonable fear determinations in the context of the reinstatement of an expedited removal order. The panel next held that under all the circumstances of this case, including the fact that the IJ’s decision on the motion advised petitioner of a right to appeal to the Board, even though no such right exists, the Board’s decision constituted the final order of removal, and the petition is therefore timely.
Turning to the merits, the panel held that the IJ abused his discretion in denying the motion to reconsider or reopen. The panel held that the IJ erred in concluding that extortion could not constitute persecution because extortion, plus the threat of violence, on the basis of a protected characteristic, can constitute persecution. Noting that petitioner sought only withholding of removal and not asylum, and therefore needed to establish only that a protected characteristic was “a reason” motivating the extortionate acts, the panel remanded to the IJ to determine whether petitioner established an “extortion plus” claim of persecution, based on her claimed extortion due to her family ties.