Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Attorney General Narrows Asylum Relief for Members of a Particular Social Group, Denies Relief to Applicant who Fled Cartel Violence


Yesterday, Attorney General William Barr issued a ruling in Matter of L-E-A- to overrule Board of Immigration Appeals precedent, deny relief to a Mexican asylum-seeker who fled cartel violence, and narrow eligibility for asylum based on membership in a particular social group.  The Attorney General wrote that "I conclude that an alien’s family based group will not constitute a particular social group unless it has been shown to be socially distinct in the eyes of its society, not just those of its alleged persecutor. . . . Because the record does not support the determination in this case that the immediate family of the respondent’s father constituted a particular social group, I reverse the Board’s conclusion to the contrary." 

L-E-A- had contended that  contends that he was persecuted by a criminal gang on account of his membership in the “particular social group” defined as the “immediate family of his father,” who owned a store targeted by a local drug cartel.

As discussed on The Hill, AG Barr earlier this year also issued an order that reversed a 2005 Board of Immigration Appeals ruling that found asylum-seekers could be released on bond if they are able to show they have credible fear of persecution or danger in their home countries.  The previous Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, also had intervened in BIA cases to narrow asylum and encourage case closures.

Click here for a summary of the criticism of the ruling.



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