U.S. Attorney General Lifts Stay on Asylum Cases Involving Domestic Violence: Matter of R-A-.
Thursday, October 2, 2008 1:58 PM

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General (AG), lifted a stay that prevented the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) from considering R-A-’s case and others like it.  The cases involved immigrants who alleged they were victims of domestic violence in their home countries and sought asylum to remain in the U.S. In particular, R-A-’s claim for asylum was based on her fear of persecution by her husband on account of her membership in a social group that she defined as “Guatemalan women who have been involved intimately with Guatemalan male companions, who believe that women are to live under male domination.”

The stay had been in place on R-A-’s case since 2001, when then-AG Reno ordered the BIA to wait for a proposed rule to be finalized and published. The rule would have amended the meanings of “persecution,” “on account of” and “particular social group.” Seven years later, however, the rule had still not become final, and the number of other immigrants being held for cases similar to R-A-’s had risen. For these two reasons, and because the BIA could decide these domestic violence asylum cases based on more recent BIA and courts of appeal asylum decisions, the AG lifted the stay and remanded the case to the BIA for reconsideration.

Compiled from: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, Matter of R-A-, 24 Immigration & Naturalization Decision 629, Interim Decision #3624 (25 September 2008) (PDF).