IMMIGRATION/JEFF SESSIONS/LEGAL/WOMEN: “Women fleeing domestic violence overseas could lose the right to claim asylum in the U.S. under a review of immigration-court precedent launched by Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week, people familiar with the case said.
The move is one of several Mr. Sessions has made in recent weeks under his power to intervene in specific cases normally heard by the Board of Immigration Appeals… In a one-page order dated March 7, the attorney general personally took charge of a case titled Matter of A-B- that previously had been set for review by the appeals board. The issue, according to Mr. Sessions’s order, involves whether victims of ‘private criminal activity’ are members of a ‘particular social group’ whose persecution qualifies for protection under asylum law…. The case’s ‘underlying issue is domestic violence,’ said Geoffrey Hoffman, director of the University of Houston Law Center’s immigration clinic…
He said… that the Board of Immigration Appeals has reckoned with domestic-violence claims several times, and in 2014 issued a landmark decision affording victims eligibility for asylum. That case, Matter of A-R-C-G-, held that ‘married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship’ qualified as a ‘particular social group’ facing persecution.
Immigrant advocacy groups celebrated the A-R-C-G- ruling as reflecting real-world conditions that drive women from their homelands. Critics, however, complained that it expanded asylum into a broad remedy for social ills, beyond its traditional role as refuge for those fleeing ethnic, political or religious persecution by those in power.
Mr. Sessions’s action could set the stage for narrowing or even overturning the A-R-C-G- precedent, and could have implications for other nontraditional asylum claims, such as flight from gang violence. “
-Jess Bravin, “Jeff Sessions to Rule on Asylum for Battered Woman,” The Wall Street Journal online, Mar. 12, 2018 07:31pm