Washington, DC – On June 16, 2021, Attorney General Merrick Garland vacated decisions in Matter of A-B-, 27 I&N Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018) (“A-B- I”), Matter of A-B-, 28 I&N Dec. 199 (A.G. 2021) (“A-B- II”), and Matter of L-E-A-, 27 I&N Dec. 581 (A.G. 2019) (“L-E-A- II”) which reversed and overturned prior precedent by restricting asylum to applicants on account of their membership in a “particular social group.”


The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) cites that foreign nationals are eligible to apply for asylum under 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42)(A) if they can establish, among other things, that they were persecuted or have a well-rounded fear of persecution due to one of the following protected grounds: race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.


Membership in a “particular social group,” which can be defined as persons with a similar background, habits, or social status, is the most difficult to establish. In rescinding Matter of A-B-, 27 I&N Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018) (“A-B- I”) and Matter of A-B-, 28 I&N Dec. 199 (A.G. 2021) (“A-B- II”), Attorney General Merrick Garland has reinstated the eligibility of certain “victims of private activity,” including domestic and gang violence. In rescinding Matter of L-E-A-, 27 I&N Dec. 581 (A.G. 2019) (“L-E-A- II”), Attorney General Merrick Garland has also reinstated the circumstances in which a nuclear family may qualify as a “particular social group.”


The decision comes after President Joseph R. Biden Jr. issued Executive Order No. 14010 on February 2, 2021, allotting the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security 270 days to “promulgate joint regulations, consistent with applicable immigration law, addressing the circumstances in which a person should be considered a member of a “particular social group” ​​​§ 4(c)(ii), 86 Fed. Reg. 8267, 8271. Pending completion of the ongoing rulemaking process, Immigration Judges (“IJ”) and the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) have been instructed to no longer follow the vacated decisions when adjudicating pending and future asylum cases and revert to prior precedent, including Matter of A-R-C-G-, the first published precedential decision from the BIA that affirms the validity of a particular social group encompassing victims of domestic violence.


If you, or someone you know, was previously deemed ineligible for asylum on these grounds, call The Law Office of Eric M. Mark for free, 10-minute consultation discuss whether you may now be eligible to apply. Our immigration experts and staff have years of experience providing clients the legal support needed to ensure their protection in the United States.


The Law Office of Eric M. Mark is located at:


201 Washington Street

Newark, NJ 07102





Jersey City, NJ

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