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Acting Attorney General issues a second Matter of A-B- to provide "additional guidance" on asylum

  1. Original Date Announced

    January 14, 2021

    The Acting Attorney General certifies to himself the last iteration of Matter A-B- decided by the BIA, vacates that decision, and issues a new precedent. Matter of A-B- II asserts that several courts of appeal have upheld the previous A.G. precedent "as reasonable and within the Attorney General's discretion" but that additional guidance is needed on three issues: (1) the standard for determining whether a government can be deemed "unwilling or unable" to prevent persecution by non-governmental actors; (2) whether a government that makes efforts to stop the harm in third-party persecution cases is "unable or unwilling" to prevent persecution; and (3) whether a protected ground must be more than a but-for cause in order to be at least "one central reason" for the persecution.

    For the first two issues, the decision appears to be a selective restatement of circuit court law that is compatible with Matter of A-B- I. For the third issue, the decision takes issue with the 4th Circuit's view of particular social group, which is broader and conflicts with Matter of L-E-A-.

    The decision recognizes that certain circuit law may conflict with this new decision, but explains that those circuit court decisions were made without the benefit of the "clear and controlling interpretation" that Matter of A-B- II provides. The decision invokes Chevron deference to its interpretation of the statutory language at issue, signaling to EOIR judges to apply Matter of A-B- II over applicable circuit precedent.

    [ID #1289]

    Matter of A-B-, 28 I&N Dec 199 (AG 2021)
  2. Effective Date

    January 14, 2021
  4. Biden Administration Action: Revoked/Replaced

    June 16, 2021

    Matter of A-B-, 28 I&N Dec. 307 (A.G. 2021)

    This Biden administration action revokes in its entirety the Trump-era policy identified in this entry.

    On June 16, 2021, Attorney General Garland issued a new decision in Matter of A-B-, vacating Matter of A-B- I and Matter of A-B- II. "Pending forthcoming rulemaking," immigration judges are instructed to follow the precedent that governed before these decisions were issued, including the BIA's decision in Matter of A-R-C-G-.

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  5. Biden Administration Action: Other

    June 16, 2021

    2021.06.16 Impact of Attorney General decisions in Matter of L-E-A- and Matter of A-B-

    Following Attorney General Garland’s decision to vacate Matters of L-E-A-, A-B- I, and A-B- II. on June 16, 2021, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta explained that "Attorney General Garland's decisions instruct that Immigration Judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals should no longer follow the vacated decisions and should instead revert to prior precedent."

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Current Status

Not in effect

Most Recent Action

June 16, 2021 Action: Other 2021.06.16 Impact of Attorney General decisions in Matter of L-E-A- and Matter of A-B-
June 16, 2021
Acted on by Biden Administration
June 16, 2021
Acted on by Biden Administration

Original Trump Policy Status

Status: Final/Actual
Trump Administration Action: Adjudication
Subject Matter: Hearings and Adjudications
Agencies Affected: AG EOIR

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