NIJC litigates gender-based asylum claims at the immigration courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), and the federal courts of appeals. NIJC believes that gender can form the basis of a particular social group and that individuals who have suffered or fear violence based on their gender should be eligible for asylum.
NIJC has represented:
- A woman from Ethiopia who had been subjected to FGM and was then tortured and imprisoned after she joined a group that advocated for women's rights.
- A woman from El Salvador who was severely abused by her gang member partner.
- An Egyptian woman and her daughter who suffered extensive persecution at the hands of their in-laws.
- A woman from Mali who feared being forced into a marriage.
- Siblings from Honduras who were sexually abused by a family member.
Courts of Appeals
- 2016 amicus brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit regarding a woman's ability to "leave" an abusive relationship. Filed by pro bono counsel on behalf of the National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project, Inc. (NIWAP) and several Immigration Law Professors from Texas. NIJC encourages attorney to utilize this brief to support their cases where appropriate.
Cece v. Holder (7th Cir. 2013)
- NIJC Amicus Brief Filed in Support of Petitioner Cece on Rehearing En Banc before the Seventh Circuit: the exact social group definition proposed by an applicant, including a definition that references the harm feared, is irrelevant to the social group analysis; a group is a particular social group so long as its members share a characteristic they cannot or should not be required to change. Cece v. Holder, No. 11-1989 (7th Cir. Aug. 9, 2013), rehearing granted.
- NIJC summary of the decision finding Cece's particular social group cognizable under asylum law.
Perdomo v. Holder, 611 F.3d 662 (9th Cir. 2010)
Information provided with the permission of Respondent’s attorney.
- NIJC Amicus Brief on remand before the BIA (2011) in support of the arguments that (1) gender and nationality can form the basis of a particular social group and (2) the type and context of the harm feared in indicative of nexus.
- BIA’s decision on remand
Board of Immigration Appeals
NIJC Amicus Brief before the BIA: Gender as a Particular Social Group (2011 - case remanded in an unpublished decision)
Matter of A-R-C-G-, 26 I&N Dec. 388 (BIA 2014): In August 2014, the BIA issued a published decision holding that a Guatemalan woman was eligible for asylum based on the severe abuse she suffered at the hands of her partner. NIJC submitted an amicus brief in support of the respondent in this. Click here to read NIJC's press release regarding this decision and for a link to NIJC's amicus brief.
Although NIJC believes that the best social group in domestic violence-based claims will usually be based on gender and nationality alone, practitioners are encouraged to utilize the language from A-R-C-G- to formulate a narrower version of a gender/nationality-based social group. Attorneys with cases in the Seventh Circuit should also be sure to review NIJC's Particular Social Group Practice Advisory and argue that the "social distinction" and "particularity" requirements in A-R-C-G- are not binding in the Seventh Circuit.
- Unpublished BIA decision finding that the absence of a legal marriage does not automatically distinguish a domestic violence-based asylum claim from that of the respondent in Matter of A-R-C-G-. Provided courtesy of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at UC Hastings.
- Unpublished BIA decision recognizing a non-marital, domestic relationship can serve as a basis for a particular social group under Matter of A-R-C-G- and rejecting the judge's determination that domestic violence was caused by drug use.
In three different cases before the BIA involving domestic violence-based asylum claims, DHS has filed briefs that "represent its current position as to whether victims of domestic violence . . . are members of a particular social group . . . and can otherwise establish eligibility for asylum."
These briefs are less significant in light of the BIA's decision in A-R-C-G-, but attorneys may still find them useful to understand the the BIA's analysis in A-R-C-G-.
- DHS Brief in Matter of R-A- (BIA)
- DHS Brief in In re L-R- (BIA)
- 2012 DHS filing before the BIA, affirming its position that victims of domestic violence can establish membership in a particular social group.
- UNHCR Guidelines on International Protection: Gender-Related Persecution within the context of Article 1A(2) of the 1951 Convention and/or its 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, HCR/GIP/02/01, May 7, 2002.
- Asylum Officer Basic Training Course: Female Asylum Applicants and Gender-Related Claims, March 12, 2009