Attorney General Merrick Garland Vacates Asylum Precedents That Harmed Victims of Violence

Attorney General Merrick Garland vacated two precedent decisions, Matter of A-B- and Matter of L-E-A-, both of which were issued by Attorneys General under the Trump administration and had arbitrarily overturned years of established case law. Under these decisions, the rules around who qualifies for asylum have been largely returned to where they were before former President Donald Trump took office.

By vacating these two decisions, AG Garland has restored access to asylum for many people fleeing persecution abroad, protections that had been gutted by the Trump administration.

Garland overturns two Trump-era rules that made it hard for immigrants to win asylum

Trump frequently referred to asylum as a “scam,” and an order by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions had made it difficult for victims of domestic violence or gang violence to qualify for asylum.

AILA President-Elect Jeremy McKinney stated, “This was the right decision by the Attorney General and one which helps victims of extreme violence. Today also hits home as it favorably impacts the ability of the asylum seekers I represent to remain safe. By reinforcing what was once settled law—that domestic & gang violence can fall within the ambit of asylum law, the Biden Administration is sending a powerful message that America is once again a refuge for those fleeing persecution and in need of humanitarian protection. These were two of many decisions the Trump Administration’s Department of Justice used to undermine and politicize the asylum process. We welcome this news and urge AG Garland to vacate other decisions which make it impossible for individuals to have a fair day in court.”

These decisions by AG Garland recognize the errors of the A-B- and L-E-A- line of cases and should strengthen the ability of adjudicators to grant asylum to individuals fleeing gender and family-based persecution in particular, and more broadly, to individual fleeing harm by non-state actors.

AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson added, “When someone’s own country cannot or will not keep them safe from persecution, American laws declare forcefully that we will protect them. With these decisions today, we are heading back in the right direction, aligning again with the fundamental values upon which our country was built. However, the fact that the Trump Administration was able to manipulate access to asylum in the manner it did, and that it took significant time and resources simply to revert to prior caselaw, shows why the immigration courts cannot remain under the control of the DOJ whose influence inherently weakens the courts’ ability to stand against politicized changes. An independent immigration judiciary would be far better suited to ensuring justice in these life and death cases.”

Orlando Immigration Asylum Lawyer

Asylum-seekers must show that they face a well-founded fear of persecution based on at least one of five protected grounds: race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in particular social group. According to Immigration lawyer Chad Brandt, “Matter of A-B and Matter of LEA VACATED today! This is huge for all cases, including pending appeals, because A-B is the case that deprived Central Americans of Asylum (gang violence) and anyone that’s claim is based upon domestic violence.”

Please contact our experienced Immigration law firm if you have any questions or concerns regarding new asylum precedents and how it may impact you and your family in the United States. Our firm is pleased to currently offer free initial telephonic consultations with our experienced immigration attorneys.

DOJ Issues Memo on the Impact of Attorney General Decisions in Matter of L-E-A- and Matter of A-B-

Source: AILA Doc. No. 21061648.