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USCIS issues policy guidance for Matter of L-E-A-

  1. Original Date Announced

    September 30, 2019

    The new policy guidance explains the effect of Matter of L-E-A-, which declined to recognize nuclear families as a particular social group. The policy instructs that asylum officers "should no longer recognize family-based particular social groups based only on the general significance of family relationships in the society in question, or the sole fact that a particular family has been the target of private criminal activity." Instead, officers “must be careful to focus on the particular social group as it is defined by the applicant and ask whether that group is distinct in the society in question." To qualify as a particular social group, a specific family must be distinct from society in a "significant" way. [ID #108]

    Guidance for Processing Reasonable Fear, Credible Fear, Asylum, and Refugee Claims in Accordance with *Matter of L-E-A*
  2. Effective Date

    September 30, 2019
  4. Biden Administration Action: Revoked/Replaced

    May 14, 2021

    Revocation of Guidance for Processing Reasonable Fear, Credible Fear, Asylum, and Refugee Claims in Accordance with Matter of L-E-A

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

    USCIS added a note to this guidance memorandum noting that it is revoked as of May 14, 2021, and that the underlying Attorney General decision was vacated in its entirety on June 16, 2021. The notice remains on the USCIS website for historical purposes.

    View Document

Current Status

Not in effect
May 14, 2021
Acted on by Biden Administration

Original Trump Policy Status

Status: Final/Actual
Trump Administration Action: Agency Directive
Agencies Affected: USCIS ICE EOIR

Associated or Derivative Policies

Pre Trump-Era Policies

  • July 29, 2019

    Previous USCIS guidance, no longer valid in light of the Attorney General’s decision in Matter of L-E-A-, instructed officers to recognize particular social groups based on familial relationships so long as the pertinent society perceived the degree of relationship among the family members as so significant that the society distinguished groups based on that type of relationship.

    USCIS RAIO Combined Training Course Lesson Plan: Nexus – Particular Social Group

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