Post-matter of A-b-, the Ninth Circuit Joins the First and Sixth Circuits in Finding Domestic Violence-based Asylum Claims Are Still Viable

Published date01 October 2020
Date01 October 2020
POST-MATTER OF A-B-, THE NINTH CIRCUIT
JOINS THE FIRST AND SIXTH CIRCUITS IN
FINDING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE-BASED ASYLUM
CLAIMS ARE STILL VIABLE
MICHAEL KAREFF* AND JORGE ROMAN-ROMERO
After the former U.S. Attorney General (“A.G.”) Jeff Sessions issued
Matter of A-B- in 2018, many immigration advocates were skeptical of the vi-
ability of domestic violence-based asylum claims.
1
Matter of A-B- contained
dicta that many immigration advocates worried would be interpreted as a cat-
egorical ban on domestic violence-based asylum claims.
2
However, since
2018, several circuits have rejected this reading of Matter of A-B-. Most
recently, the Ninth Circuit joined the First and Sixth Circuits in ruling that
Matter of A-B- heightens the burden of proof required for domestic violence
victims to claim asylum, but that domestic violence-based claims for asylum
are still legally cognizable.
3
To claim asylum in the United States, an asylum applicant must meet the
statutory def‌inition of a refugee under the Immigration and Nationality Act,
which in part requires that a person has been persecuted or fears they will be
persecuted in their country of origin on account of race, religion, nationality,
political opinion, or membership in a particular social group (“PSG”).
4
As
the protected PSGs are not def‌ined by statute, the Board of Immigration
Appeals (“BIA”) has developed and narrowed specif‌ic requirements to estab-
lish membership in a PSG over the past few decades.
5
Since the BIA’s
* Michael Kareff, J.D. Candidate, 2021, Georgetown University Law Center; B.A. Political Science
& Peace and Justice Studies, cum laude, 2015, Tufts University. © 2021, Michael Kareff & Jorge Roman-
Romero.
Jorge Roman-Romero, J.D. & LL.M. Candidate in Energy and Natural Resources Law, 2021, The
University of Tulsa College of Law; M.A. in International Studies, University of San Francisco; B.A. in
Political Science & B.A. in History, magna cum laude, 2016, McNeese State University.
1. Matter of A-B-, 27 I. & N. Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018).
2. See e.g., Anne Weis, Fleeing for Their Lives: Domestic Violence Asylum and Matter of A-B-, 108
CAL. L. REV. 1319, 1350-51 (2020).
3. See Diaz-Reynoso v. Barr, 968 F.3d 1070, 1078 (9th Cir. 2020); Fuentes Reyes v. Barr, 816 F.
App’x 139, 140 (9th Cir. 2020); Arellano Rodriguez v. Barr, 816 F. App’x 137, 138 (9th Cir. 2020).
4. 8 U.S.C.A. § 1101 (West 2014).
5. See, e.g., Matter of M-E-V-G-, 26 I. & N. Dec. 227, 251–52 (B.I.A. 2014) (holding that “member-
ship in a particular social group” requires an applicant for asylum or withholding of removal to establish
that the group is (1) composed of members who share a common immutable characteristic, (2) def‌ined
with particularity, and (3) socially distinct within the society in question); Matter of Acosta, 19 I. & N.
Dec. 211, 212 (B.I.A. 1985) (holding that ‘persecution on account of membership in a particular social
group’ refers to persecution that is directed toward an individual who is a member of a group of persons
all of whom share a common, immutable characteristic).
349

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT