On June 11, 2018, Attorney General Sessions issued a precedential decision in Matter of A-B-, 27 I&N Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018). The decision overrules a prior decision, Matter of A-R-C-G-, 26 I&N Dec. 338 (BIA 2014), which held that in some circumstances, domestic violence survivors could receive asylum protection. Additionally, A-B- attacks asylum claims involving harm by non-state actors. While the decision gives the impression that these claims are foreclosed, nearly all the damaging language is dicta, and the Refugee Convention, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and precedential case law at the Courts of Appeals and Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) continue to support much of what the BIA previously held in A-R-C-G-. In short, the holding in A-B- is narrow and much of the damage done is a matter of optics, not law. Nonetheless, attorneys must be prepared for adjudicators to view A-B- broadly and present their arguments accordingly.
NIJC’s Practice Advisory: Applying for Asylum After Matter of A-B- (available here) provides practitioners with a history of the law leading up to the A-B- decision and detailed practice tips for attorneys representing asylum seekers with non-state actor claims after A-B-. Although the practice advisory is intended for attorneys practicing within the Seventh Circuit, attorneys elsewhere should still find it useful.
NIJC will also be holding a training on July 12, 2018 from 9:00 am – 11:00 am CT regarding best practice for representing asylum claims in light of the A-B- decision. Although in-person registration is full, attorneys can still register for the live webinar. Please click here for more information.