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Attorney General Sessions Issues a Decision Denying Rights to Victims of Domestic Violence and Gang Based Violence by Private Actors

On June 11, 2018, Attorney General Sessions issued a precedential decision in Matter of A-B-, 27 I&N Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018). The decision overrules a prior decision in Matter of A-R-C-G-, 26 I&N Dec. 338 (BIA 2014) which held that in some circumstances, domestic violence survivors could receive asylum protection. Additionally, A-B- attacks asylum claims involving harm by non-state actors. While the decision gives the impression that these claims are foreclosed, nearly all the damaging language is dicta. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and precedential case law continue to support much of what the BIA held in A-R-C-G-. In short, the holding in A-B- is narrow and much of the damage done is a matter of optics, not law.

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