WASHINGTON, D.C. — Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday vacated Trump-era opinions that limited access to asylum in the U.S. for those fleeing gang- or gender-based violence.
The vacated decisions, Matter of A-B- and Matter of L-E-A-, largely made asylum unavailable for those fleeing domestic violence or gang-related threats and restricted who could qualify as fleeing persecution on account of membership in a “particular social group.”
The vacated decisions, issued by Garland’s predecessors Jeff Sessions and William Barr, broke with precedent to significantly limit access to asylum, particularly for many Central Americans seeking humanitarian protection in the U.S. Garland’s action returns to the previous rule, which permitted immigration court relief for qualifying claimants who could show persecution arising from gang- and gender-based violence.
“This decision is the right move morally and legally,” said Ali Noorani, President and CEO of the National Immigration Forum. “Our policies reflect our priorities, and this action confirms the long-held American value of providing refuge to some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”