Asylum and Related Protections for Aliens Who Fear Gang and Domestic Violence [October 25, 2018] [open pdf - 457KB]
"Over the past year, non-U.S. nationals (aliens) from Central America (primarily Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala) have comprised an increasingly larger share of asylum applicants in the United States. And more recently, a 'caravan' of thousands of individuals from Honduras has been traveling north across the Guatemala-Mexico border, with many reportedly seeking to escape widespread gang and domestic violence in Honduras. Previously, federal courts and immigration authorities have considered when such circumstances may raise a viable claim for asylum or other forms of relief from removal. In June 2018, Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions ruled in 'Matter of A-B-' that aliens who fear gang or domestic violence in their home countries generally do not qualify for asylum based on those grounds -- a ruling that is binding upon immigration authorities within both the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The decision may foreclose some claims of relief by asylum seekers, and subject more aliens apprehended along the border to expedited removal in lieu of the more formalized removal process available to aliens whose asylum claims are deemed sufficiently credible to warrant further review. This Legal Sidebar examines asylum claims based on gang and domestic violence, the AG's decision in Matter of A-B-, and recent guidance from DHS's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in light of that ruling."
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10207
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/