U.S. Reverses Restrictions on Asylum Cases

Victims of domestic violence and gang violence can apply for asylum.

Rayeed Wendt Ibtesam
June 17, 2021

On June 16, 2021, under the current Biden Administration, Attorney General Merrick Garland, made it possible again for victims of domestic violence and victims of gang violence to apply for asylum in the U.S.  Attorney General Merrick Garland, at the U.S. Department of Justice, vacated two decisions known as Matter of A-B and Matter of L-E-A, issued by the previous attorney general under the previous administration.

Under U.S. asylum law, a person may seek asylum but must demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution based on at least one of the five protected groups: race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. In 2018, the previous administration decided that victims of domestic violence and gang violence did not qualify as a “particular social group,” and therefore left women fleeing from domestic abuse and people fleeing from gang violence without the opportunity to apply for asylum in the U.S.

The June 16, 2021, decisions of Attorney General Merrick Garland return U.S. asylum law to include victims of domestic violence and gang violence to qualify once again as a “particular social group.”  Soon there will be a final rule addressing the definition of “particular social group.” The decisions take effect currently pending and future cases.

For more information read Interim Decision #4018, Matter of L-E-A-, Respondent, 28 I&N Dec. 304 (A.G. 2021) and Interim Decision #4019, 28 I&N De. 307 (A.G. 2021).

If you or someone you know is seeking asylum, call Martine Law for a free consultation.

English: (612) 421-7402

Spanish: (800) 801-8761

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