Gender-Based Asylum Claims Post <em>Matter of A-R-C-G-</em> (.PDF)

Gender-Based Asylum Claims Post Matter of A-R-C-G- (.PDF)

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Release Date 09/21/2016
Length 10 Pages
Format PDF
SKU FP16-08
Thirty years ago, U.S. and international asylum law did not recognize gender-based violence as a form of persecution, mostly due to the relegation of gender-based violence to the private, rather than the public sphere. Harm such as rape and domestic violence, for example, was considered to be driven by personal motivations, not by protected grounds under the INA and the U.N. Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. However, for over two decades now, gender-related asylum claims have received increasing attention by advocates, the U.S. immigration authorities, and the federal courts. In fact, advocates, through litigation and outreach, have driven greater attention by U.S. authorities and the courts, yielding important advances in the law, most recently in the long-anticipated precedent decision by the BIA in Matter of A-R-C-G-. In this 2014 decision, the BIA recognized that domestic violence may be a form of persecution on account of a protected ground and that gender may form the basis of a particular social group, even following the BIA's reaffirmation of its restrictive three-part test for determining whether a particular social group is viable for purposes of seeking asylum.

Despite these positive developments, asylum claims based on various forms of gender-based violence, including domestic violence, remain incredibly challenging, because such claims have generated inconsistent decisions by asylum officers and immigration judges, as well as both positive and negative outcomes before the BIA and the federal courts. As this area of asylum law continues to develop, it is essential for practitioners to learn lessons from the past and to continue to push the law forward for the future protection of victims of gender-based violence. This practice advisory will address some of the ongoing challenges that arise in gender-based asylum claims following the BIA's Matter of A-R-C-G- decision and provide practice pointers for practitioners bringing protection claims on behalf of their clients.

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Dree K. Collopy is a partner of Benach Collopy LLP, where she devotes her practice to defending and representing individuals in asylum matters, removal proceedings, federal court litigation, VAWA and U visa petitions, waivers of inadmissibility, and complex adjustment of status and naturalization applications. A recognized asylum expert, Dree chaired the AILA Asylum and Refugee Committee for several years and is the author of AILA's Asylum Primer. Dree has been active in the fight to end family detention, volunteering at the facilities in Artesia, NM, and Karnes City and Dilley, TX, and advocating on Capitol Hill and in the media. AILA has recognized her for her contributions to the field of immigration law and work in advancing and defending the cause of refugees, receiving the AILA President's Commendation Award in both 2013 and 2016, and the Joseph Minsky Award in 2014. Dree earned her J.D. from The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law and her B.A. from Grinnell College.

Scott Bratton is a partner at Margaret Wong and Associates LLC. His practice includes removal defense, asylum, federal litigation, criminal law, and assistance in business and family-based immigration. Mr. Bratton has practiced immigration law for over 15 years and has been the attorney of record on numerous precedent-setting cases. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law where he teaches asylum law.

Hiroko Kusuda is clinic professor and director of the Immigration Law Section of Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Center for Social Justice. Prior to joining Loyola, Professor Kusuda was a detention attorney for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), she represented immigrants detained in Louisiana and Alabama, managed CLINIC's Louisiana Deportation and Detention Representation Project, and provided technical assistance to five Catholic diocesan immigration programs created after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf South region. Professor Kusuda is a long-time member of AILA, a mentor on removal defense and asylum law, and the recipient of the 2016 AILA Elmer Fried Excellence in Teaching Award.

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