Friday, June 14, 2019
The Material Support Bar to Asylum: Matter of A-C-M- -- "A Victim of Terrorism Faces Deportation for Helping Terrorists"?
An article by Jenna Krajeski in The New Yorker provides fascinating background on an important asylum ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals in Matter of A-C-M-, 27 I&N Dec. 303 (BIA 2018), which deals with the "material support" to terrorist organizations that preclude an applicant from securing asylum. As Krajeski describes the decision,
"[I]n June, 2018, the Board of Immigration Appeals, which reviews rulings made in immigration court, issued a two-to-one decision denying Ana’s most recent request to stay in the U.S. The judges, considering Ana’s captivity, decided that, because she had worked for the guerrillas [in El Salvador], even under duress, she was not their victim but functionally a member of their group. `While the respondent’s assistance may have been relatively minimal, if she had not provided the cooking and cleaning services she was forced to perform, another person would have needed to do so,' they wrote, in an opinion called Matter of A–C–M–. Ana was ineligible for asylum, under a law called the material-support statute, because she had aided terrorists."
"The On June 6, 2018, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) issued a published decision in the Matter of A-C-M-, 27 I&N Dec. 303 (BIA 2018) [PDF version]. In this decision, the Board adopted an expansive definition of the “material support” inadmissibility ground in section 212(a)(3)(B)(i)(VIII) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which also constitutes a bar to certain immigration benefits such as asylum, withholding of removal, and cancellation of removal. First, the Board held that the term “material support” does not entail a quantitative requirement, that is, it covers any action that “has a logical and even reasonably foreseeable tendency to promote, sustain, or maintain the [terrorist] organization, even if only to a de minimis degree.” Second, regarding the instant case, the Board concluded that the respondent had provided material support “because the forced labor she provided [to the terrorist organization] in the form of cooking, cleaning, and washing closed aided [it] in continuing [its] mission…”
My Attorney USA concludes:
"In Matter of A-C-M-, the Board adopted a broad definition of `material support' in section 212(a)(3)(B)(i)(VIII), applying it to involuntary support in the form of cooking and cleaning services. Specifically, the Board held that any support provided to a terrorist organization, regardless of how minor, constitutes `material support.' This decision, in conjunction with the Board's rejection of an implied duress exception in Matter of M-H-Z-, will mean that the material support bar will reach a large number of cases."