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Trump Administration Attorney General Certifications

This summary compiles principal Attorney General decisions with links to the individual Tracker entries that report on the decisions in full. Many of these decisions are subject to litigation. Please check Tracker entries for details and current status. Policies are listed with the most recent first.

Please click on the individual Tracker Entry link for each policy to see its current status.


Matter of A-B- (II), 28 I&N Dec. 199 (2021)

1/14/2021
Asylum eligibility/adjudication

  • The decision vacates Matter of A-B- (I), 27 I&N Dec. 316 (BIA 2018), to provide a “clear and controlling interpretation,” and holds that “failures in particular cases or high levels of crime do not establish a breach of a government’s duty to protect its citizenry” for purposes of proving a government is “unwilling or unable” to prevent persecution. Matter of L-E-A- is reaffirmed, rejecting the Fourth Circuit’s broader view of “particular social group” and “one central reason” for persecution.
  • Referral order: Matter of A-B-, 27 I&N 227 (BIA 2018); see also Matter of A-B-, 27 I&N Dec. 247 (2018) (Matter of A-B- I) (denying DHS’s request to suspend the briefing schedules and clarifying the question presented)
  • Tracker Entry

Matter of Negusie, 28 I&N Dec. 120 (2020)

11/5/2020
Asylum eligibility/adjudication

  • The persecutor bar to asylum and withholding of removal does not include an exception for coercion or duress.
  • Referral order: Matter of Negusie, 27 I&N Dec. 481 (BIA 2018)
  • Tracker Entry

Matter of A-C-A-A-, 28 I&N Dec. 84 (2020)

9/24/2020
Asylum eligibility/adjudication

  • The BIA must examine de novo whether the facts found by an immigration judge satisfy all statutory elements of asylum as a matter of law, and may not accept parties’ stipulations to elements of asylum. Claim of particular social group membership cannot be incidental, tangential, or subordinate to the persecutor’s motivation.
  • Tracker Entry

Matter of Reyes, 28 I&N Dec. 52 (2020)

7/30/2020
Criminal convictions

  • A conviction qualifies as an aggravated felony if the elements of the offense necessarily match a combination of aggravated felony offenses defined in INA 101(a)(43), even if the elements do not necessarily match any single aggravated felony definition.
  • Referral order: Matter of Reyes, 27 I&N Dec. 708 (BIA 2019)
  • Tracker Entry

Matter of O-F-A-S-, 28 I&N Dec. 35 (2020)

7/14/2020
Asylum eligibility/adjudication

  • CAT regulations require that “torture” is harm inflicted or approved by a public official or other person “acting in an official capacity” and “under the color of law.”
  • Referral order: Matter of O-F-A-S-, 27 I&N Dec. 709 (BIA 2019)
  • Tracker Entry

Matter of R-A-F-, 27 I&N Dec. 778 (2020)

2/26/2020
Asylum eligibility/adjudication

  • Acts constitute “torture” under regulations only if (1) “specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering” not if negligent or otherwise, and (2) motivated by purposes such as “obtaining . . . information or a confession, punishing . . . for an act, or intimidating or coercing . . . based on discrimination of any kind.”
  • Tracker Entry

Matter of Thomas & Thompson, 27 I&N Dec. 674 (2019)

10/25/2019
Criminal convictions

  • Criminal sentence modifications will only be recognized for immigration purposes when based on a procedural or substantive defect in the criminal court proceeding. A sentence modification for any other reason, including rehabilitation or immigration hardship, will not be recognized.
  • Referral order: Matter of Thomas & Thompson, 27 I&N Dec. 556 (BIA 2019)
  • Tracker Entry

Matter of Castillo-Perez, 27 I&N Dec. 664 (2019)

10/25/2019
Criminal convictions

  • Two or more DUI convictions establish the presumption of a lack of good moral character and ineligibility for discretionary relief of cancellation of removal.
  • Referral order: Matter of Castillo-Perez, 27 I&N Dec. 495 (BIA 2018)
  • Tracker Entry

Matter of L-E-A-, 27 I&N Dec. 581 (2019)

7/29/2019
Asylum eligibility/adjudication

  • Most nuclear families do not qualify as a particular social group.
  • Referral order: Matter of L-E-A-, 27 I&N Dec. 494 (2018)
  • Tracker Entry

Matter of M-S-, 27 I&N Dec. 509 (2019)

4/16/2019
Detention

  • The prohibition on IJ bond hearings applies to persons who are EWI, placed into expanded expedited removal (not “arriving alien”), pass credible fear screening, then transferred to full INA 240 removal proceedings.
  • Referral order: 27 I&N Dec. 476 (October 12, 2018).
  • Tracker Entry

Matter of S-O-G- & F-D-B-, 27 I&N Dec. 462 (2018)

9/18/2018
IJ procedures and adjudications

  • Immigration judges do not have a general authority to terminate proceedings and may do so only in those circumstances expressly covered by regulation.
  • Tracker Entry

Matter of L-A-B-R-, et al., 27 I&N Dec. 405 (2018)

8/16/2018
IJ procedures and adjudications

  • Immigration judges can only grant continuance based on limited standards and are discouraged from granting continuances.
  • Referral order: Matter of L-A-B-R-, 27 I&N Dec. 245 (BIA 2018)
  • Tracker Entry

Matter of A-B- (I), 27 I&N Dec. 316 (2018)

6/11/2018
Asylum eligibility/adjudication

  • Particular social group asylum claims based on domestic violence and gang violence are limited; demonstrating non-governmental persecution is restricted; other asylum criteria are narrowed; and matter of Matter of A-R-C-G- is overruled. Matter of A-B- I was vacated and “clarified” by subsequent AG decision, Matter of A-B- II, 28 I&N Dec. 199 (2021).
  • Tracker Entry

Matter of Castro-Tum, 27 I&N Dec. 271 (2018)

5/17/2018
IJ procedures and adjudications

  • The BIA and immigration judges lack authority to administratively close proceedings and may do so only when expressly authorized by regulation or judicial settlement.
  • Referral order: Matter of Castro-Tum, 27 I&N Dec. 187 (BIA 2018)
  • Tracker Entry

Matter of E-F-H-L-, 27 I&N Dec. 226 (2018)

3/5/2018
Asylum eligibility/adjudication

  • The presumption that asylum-seekers are normally entitled to a full IJ evidentiary hearing is overruled. The decision vacates Matter of E-F-H-L-, 26 I&N Dec. 319 (BIA 2014).
  • Tracker Entry


Pending Certifications (as of March 31, 2021)

Referral: Matter of A-M-R-C-, 28 I&N Dec. 7

Date of referral: 6/17/2020
Asylum eligibility/adjudication

  • Pending referral by AG to review the legal standard for determining (1) serious nonpolitical crime and persecutor bars to asylum/withholding and (2) whether in absentia orders raise due process problems.
  • Tracker Entry