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AG Barr issues Matter of A-C-A-A-, requiring BIA to review asylum grants more critically

  1. Original Date Announced

    September 24, 2020

    In Matter of A-C-A-A-, AG Barr directs the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), when reviewing an asylum case, to examine the facts found by the immigration judge and determine de novo whether all of the statutory elements of asylum have been satisfied as a matter of law. The BIA may no longer accept the parties’ stipulations to, or rely upon their failures to address, any of the particular elements of asylum -- including the elements of a particular social group. Unless the BIA is issuing an affirmance without opinion (AWO), then it must review each element of an asylum claim before affirming a grant or reversing a denial.

    Barr also holds that, even if an asylum applicant is a member of a cognizable social group and has suffered persecution, the asylum claim should be denied if there is no showing of nexus between the harm and the applicant's particular social group. An asylum applicant's membership in a particular social group cannot be “incidental, tangential, or subordinate to the persecutor’s motivation.” Persecution that results from personal animus or retribution does not support eligibility for asylum.

    [ID #1134]

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

    September 24, 2020
  4. Biden Administration Action: Revoked/Replaced

    July 26, 2021

    2021.07.26 Matter of A-C-A-A- 28 I&N Dec. 351 AG 2021

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

    On July, 26, 2021, AG Garland issued an opinion in Matter of A-C-A-A-, vacating in its entirety AG Barr's September 2020 opinion. Garland's opinion directs immigration judges and the BIA to return to the "longstanding review processes" that "A-C-A-A- I apparently prohibited," including "case-by-case discretion to rely on immigration court stipulations."

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Current Status

Not in effect
July 26, 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


  • HIAS: Attorney General's Decision Makes Matters Worse for Asylum Seekers

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