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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 numerous women and girls seeking asylum based on gender-related violence.  Some examples include:

  • 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.

NIJC's resource page for particular social group claims offers additional resources


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)

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NIJC Amicus Brief before the BIA: Gender as a Particular Social Group (2011 - case remanded in an unpublished decision)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), overruled by Matter of A-B- (see below): 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.

  • Unpublished BIA decision finding that the absence of a legal marriage does not automatically distinguish a domestic violence-based asylum claim from that of the respondent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.

**Matter of A-B-, 27 I&N Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018):  In June 2018, the Attorney General issued a decision overruling Matter of A-R-C-G-.  NIJC submitted an amicus brief in response to the Attorney General's amicus solicitation.  Click here to read NIJC's press release regarding the decision and for a link to NIJC's amicus brief.  Please review NIJC's Practice Advisory, Applying for Asylum After Matter of A-B- and related webinars, for information about the decision, practice tips for representing clients after the decision, and sample language for legal briefs. 


DHS Briefs

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-.


Other Resources