Elements of Cognizable Particular Social Group:
- immutable characteristic(s) (cannot or should not be changed)
- socially visible/recognizable/distinct
- particular (can clearly tell who is a member)
Supplemental Brief from DHS in Matter of L-R- (2009) (Notes)
- Mexican women in domestic relationships who are unable to leave
- Mexican women who are viewed as property by virtue of their positions within a domestic relationship
Relevant Case Law
Grace v. Whitaker, 1:18-cv-01853-EGS (original pdf)[Dec. 17, 2018]: Vacating Matter of A-B- because new policies impermissibly heightened screening for credible fear determinations in asylum cases involving domestic violence & gang-related violence.
- Grace v. Whitaker: Short Take Summary
- Grace v. Whitaker: Table of Contents for PDF opinion
- Grace v. Whitaker: Long Form Summary
Matter of A-B-, 27 I&N Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018): vacating Matter of A-R-C-G-; DV and gang-related violence will not usually qualify for asylum status; membership in a PSG must be a central reason (in the mind of the persecutor) for the violence; if non-governmental abuse, then gov’t must either condone or be utterly helpless to stop it; BIA, IJs & asylum officers must conform to this opinion’s decision. (Summary)
Matter of M-E-V-G-, 26 I&N Dec. 227 (BIA 2014): clarifying the meaning of the term “PSG”: immutable characteristic, particularity, & socially distinct (renaming “social visibility’ requirement).
Matter of W-G-R-, 26 I&N Dec. 208 (BIA 2014): clarifying the meaning of the term “PSG”; particularity (delineation of group)
Matter of A-R-C-G-, 26 I&N Dec. 388 (BIA 2014): designating “married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship” a particular social group. (Summary)
Ngengwe v. Mukasey, 543 F.3d 1029, 1034 (8th 2008): Cameroonian widows a visible group bcz rituals & social treatment documented.
Matter of R-A-, 22 I&N Dec. 906 (BIA 1999) (original decision—but it got bopped around to different adjudicators for the next nine years…)
- Matter of R-A-, 24 I&N Dec. 629, 630-31 (A.G. 2008): since there’ve been new decisions related to DV asylum, it would be appropriate to remand and allow for further factual development. (Summary)
- DHS Supplementary Brief in Matter of R-A-, 2009 (Summary)
Matter of C-A-, 23 I&N Dec. 951 (BIA 2006): further defines PSG: not all groups sharing immutable/fundamental characteristic = cognizable protected group. Also must consider if group is socially recognized. (In this case, confidential group of informants by definition was not socially visible.) (“a cognizable particular social group must reflect social perceptions or distinctions” (17))
Llana-Castellon v. INS, 16 F.3d 1093, 1097-98 (10th 1994): if persecutor is not state, must show that state is unwilling or unable to protect victim.