On Wednesday, June 16th, United States Attorney General Merrick Garland released a statement which retracted two limits on asylum eligibility. Since immigration courts are overseen by the Department of Justice, attorney generals are allowed to set precedents and reverse previous decisions.
To qualify for asylum, one must prove that they are facing persecution due to religion, race, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a “particular social group.” The recently removed restrictions, put in place by previous attorney generals, limited who was eligible to qualify as part of a “particular social group.”
Which restrictions were removed?
The Matter of A-B, issued by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, declared that women experiencing domestic violence did not qualify as part of a “particular social group.” This meant that women in abusive relationships were unable to seek asylum in the U.S.
The Matter of L-E-A, issued by former Attorney General William Barr, determined that members of a family did not qualify as a social group. Therefore, people whose families were under threat were unable to seek asylum.
What is the impact of this decision?
With these restrictions repealed, women fleeing domestic violence and families under threat of gang violence will be more likely to find asylum in the U.S. This will create a more accessible and equitable path to protection for vulnerable people.
Mil Mujeres services
Mil Mujeres offers legal assistance to low-income individuals in the Latino community. If you are interested in learning more about asylum-seeking, visa eligibility, or a change of status, please contact us.
Phone: (202) 808-3311