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Attorney General Rules That the BIA Must Examine Asylum Claims De Novo

Vacating the BIA’s decision concerning the asylum claims of a Salvadoran woman who had established persecution on account of her membership in a particular social group—“Salvadoran females”—the Attorney General ruled that in reviewing asylum claims, the BIA must examine de novo whether facts found by the immigration judge satisfy all statutory elements of asylum as a matter of law, and that the BIA should meaningfully review each element of an asylum claim before affirming or independently ordering a grant of asylum. Matter of A-C-A-A-, 28 I&N Dec. 84 (A.G. 2020)

Judge Bars CBP Agents from Conducting Credible Fear Interviews

Granting the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia barred CBP agents, who receive substantially less training than USCIS asylum officers, from conducting credible fear interviews for asylum seekers.

Third Circuit Says BIA Misapplied Court’s Precedent When It Determined that Honduran Asylum Seeker Did Not Establish Persecution

The court held that the BIA and the immigration judge had misstated the court’s precedent in three ways in determining that the harm the Honduran petitioner had suffered did not rise to the level of past persecution, including by requiring the petitioner to show severe physical harm.

El Salvador Police Officers Convicted of Killing Trans Woman Who Had Been Deported from U.S.

Camila Díaz Córdova was deported from the United States despite telling U.S. asylum officers that she feared for her life in her home country. After her return to El Salvador, Díaz was beaten and killed by police officers, three of whom were convicted last week. According to local activists, it was the first time that a Salvadoran court had issued convictions for the killing of a transgender woman

An appeals court has blocked some policies that would weaken protections against asylum-seekers.

On July 17, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld parts of a lower court ruling that blocked the Trump administration from implementing policies that would bar domestic abuse victims and people fleeing gang violence from seeking asylum in the U.S. The case was brought by 12 asylum seekers through the ACLU, who successfully argued that the Trump administration was elevating asylum standards beyond Congress’ intentions.

A federal appeals court ruled to block the asylum ban.

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit found procedural and substantive reasons to block the “asylum ban” while litigation proceeds. The impact of this ruling is low, however, since a federal judge in Washington, D.C. blocked the policy on procedural grounds last week. Additionally, the Trump administration has imposed pandemic-related measures that allow CBP to quickly expel asylum seekers from the U.S.

Supreme Court Rules Asylum Seekers Cannot Seek Federal Court Review of Expedited Removal Orders

In Department of Homeland Security v. Thuraissigiam, the U.S. Supreme Court held that restrictions on the ability of asylum seekers to obtain review of expedited removal orders under a federal habeas statute do not violate the Constitution’s suspension clause or due process clause

The Trump administration has made it more difficult for asylum seekers to receive work authorization.

On June 22, the Trump administration published a new rule that would make it more difficult for asylum seekers to get work permits. The rule lengthens the waiting period before an asylum seeker may apply for the work permit from 150 days to 365 days. It also bars asylum seekers who entered the U.S. outside a port of entry. The rule takes effect on August 25.

USCIS Publishes Final Rule on Employment Authorization for Asylum Applicants

Today, USCIS published a final rule making multiple changes to the regulations governing asylum applications and eligibility for employment authorization based on a pending asylum application. The rule is effective on August 25, 2020. On the Immigration Impact blog, the American Immigration Council’s Aaron Reichlin-Melnick writes that the rule “will strip most asylum seekers of the right to seek work authorization” and that, in response to concerns that the rule would force many into desperate straits, DHS suggested that asylum seekers become familiar with state homelessness resources.

An “internal disconnect” led to confusion about court dates at the border.

DHS recently sent out conflicting information on how asylum seekers in Mexico would receive new immigration court dates. First, DHS told asylum seekers to come to a port of entry one month after their originally scheduled court date in order to receive a new hearing date. A week later, DHS sent a notice out telling some asylum seekers to report on their original court date to receive a new date. Later, DHS clarified that the first instruction was the correct one. The DHS official who sent out the conflicting information said that it was due to an “unintentional internal disconnect” within DHS.

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