Matter of A-B-, 27 I&N Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018), recently issued by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, overruled Matter of A-R-C-G-, 26 I&N Dec. 388 (BIA 2014). In A-R-C-G- the Board had held that, depending on the facts and evidence in an individual case, “married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship” could constitute a cognizable particular social group. The Attorney General’s decision remands Matter of A-B-back to the Immigration Court in Charlotte for further proceedings. As a result of this procedural posture, counsel for Ms. A-B- cannot immediately appeal this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Instead, the case will go back to the immigration judge who denied relief. Assuming the immigration judge denies again, Ms. A-B- would appeal to the BIA before seeking review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. AILA’s Asylum and Refugee Committee will update AILA members on the progress of Ms. A-B-‘s case as communicated by her counsel.
Through Matter of A-B- the Attorney General has made clear his desire to close the door on domestic violence and gang-based asylum claims by those fleeing persecution from “private actors.” But practitioners should continue to push these cases forward, just as they did pre-Matter of A-R-C-G. In fact, the AILA Asylum and Refugee Committee has heard anecdotally of gender-based asylum cases being granted after Matter of A-B-.
Source: AILA Doc. No. 18062204.