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VACATED ASYLUM DECISIONS BY ATTORNEY GENERAL GARLAND MAY HELP PENDING ASYLUM SEEKERS QUALIFY FOR RELIEF

July 19, 2021
Hon. Robert Vinikoor (Ret.)

On June 16, 2021 Attorney General Garland issued decisions vacating Matter of A-B, 27 I&N Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018) (A-B-I), Matter of A-B-, 28 I&N Dec. 199 (A.G. 2021 (A-B-II), and Matter of L-E-A, 27 I&N Dec. 581 (A.G. 2019) (L-E-A-II).  These decisions by AG Garland recognize the errors of the A-B and L-E-A- line of cases and should broaden the ability of asylum applicants fleeing gender and family-based persecution to qualify for asylum.

To establish eligibility for asylum, a person must have a reasonable fear of persecution on account of a protected ground.  These grounds include race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

At issue in Matter of A-B- and Matter of L-E-A was the “particular social group” ground.  “Particular social group” is not defined by statute or regulation and the previous decisions by AG Sessions sought to eliminate eligibility for asylum for individuals fleeing persecution because of domestic violence or gang-related harm.  These now-vacated decisions restricted the availability of asylum broadly stating that “victims of private criminal activity”—such as domestic violence or gang violence—will not qualify for asylum.  By vacating these decisions, AG Garland permitted the asylum law to return to its preexisting status pending a rule making process.

If you have a pending asylum cases based on membership in a particular social group, or have been denied asylum due to one of these vacated decisions, you should consult with an attorney to determine what steps need to be taken to seek reopening of your case.  Please feel free to contact the attorneys at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. if you have any concerns about your asylum case.

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