Today, June 11, 2018, the Attorney General issued a decision in Matter of A-B-, 27 I&N Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018), overruling a precedent decision regarding the manner in which private violence (particularly, domestic violence) can give rise to a viable asylum claim. NIJC and our partners across the country are reviewing the decision and determining next steps to protect the rights of asylum seekers in the United States. NIJC anticipates issuing a practice advisory in the coming days regarding the impact of this decision for attorneys representing asylum seekers in the Seventh Circuit.
In the meantime, it is important to note that this decision does NOT mean that claims based on persecution by non-state actors, including domestic violence, are no longer viable. NIJC reminds attorneys that the Seventh Circuit has long-standing case law recognizing the right to obtain asylum based on violence by non-state actors, including in the context of family and gender violence. See e.g., N-L-A- v. Holder, 744 F.3d 425 (7th Cir. 2014); Cece v. Holder, 733 F.3d 2013 (7th Cir. 2013) (en banc); Sarhan v. Holder, 658 F.3d 649 (7th Cir. 2011); Agbor v. Gonzales, 487 F.3d 799 (7th Cir. 2007). Since the Attorney General did not overrule these decisions in A-B-, NIJC’s position is that these cases remain good law. NIJC recommends attorneys review NIJC’s Particular Social Group Practice Advisory for further information regarding the interplay between the Board and Courts of Appeals’ particular social group case law and between the protected ground and nexus elements in the asylum definition.
NIJC pro bono attorneys who are representing asylum clients with claims that might implicate this decision and who have merits hearings in the next two months are encouraged to contact their NIJC point-of-contact for further discussion. Attorneys with merits hearings at a later date are encouraged to wait for NIJC’s forthcoming practice advisory before determining the best way to present their claim in light of the decision.
NIJC press release regarding the Attorney General’s decision can be found here.