USCRI: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Domestic Violence Based Asylum

Appellate Case Law

Matter of A-R-C-G- et al., Respondents, 26 I&N Dec. 388 (BIA 2014)

  • In regards to domestic violence based asylum claims, the Board of Immigration Appeals ruled that “married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship” can constitute a cognizable particular social group that forms the basis of a claim for asylum or withholding of removal. See related news article: In First for Court, Woman Is Ruled Eligible for Asylum in U.S. on Basis of Domestic Abuse, The New York Times, August 29, 2014

BIA Remand May 29, 2009

  • The Board of Immigration Appeals remanded a domestic violence based asylum claim to the Immigration Judge for further factual findings and legal arguments citing to the developments in Matter of R-A. 

Matter of R-A-, 24 I&N Dec. 629 (A.G. 2008)

  • The Attorney General lifted the stay previously imposed on the Board of Immigration Appeals and remanded the case for reconsideration of the issues presented with respect to asylum claims based on domestic violence. 

Matter of R-A-, 22 I&N Dec. 906 (A.G. 2001; BIA 1999)

  • For a comprehensive review of the pleadings and history surrounding Matter of R-A, please see the resources provided by the Center of Gender & Refugee Studies at UC Hastings.  Their website can be found here:


H.014 (Domestic Violence Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Board of Immigration Appeals
Decision and order of the BIA and Respondent’s Brief
June 28, 2005
Application: Withholding of Removal, Convention Against Torture

  • The respondent, a former member of the United States-based street gang “Down For Anything,” was deported to Honduras after being convicted of “conspiracy to commit a crime of grand theft.”  Upon arrival in Honduras, he was separated from other deportees and held in a room for no reason where he was beaten by Honduran police and military officers and threatened for his past gang affiliation.  “The officials told him he was not welcome in Honduras because DFA had “Gringo” origins, and was neither founded nor based in Central America.”  He was detained and tortured once more by police after the car he was riding in was shot at by a member of the Mara Salvatrucha gang.  After his temporary release he was advised by his lawyer to leave the country or the authorities would kill him.  The BIA affirms the Immigration Judge’s January 13, 2005 decision to grant the respondent’s application for withholding of removal and his request for deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture; the BIA dismisses the appeal raised by Department of Homeland Security.

Executive Office for Immigration Review
Board of Immigration Appeals
Decision and order of the BIA
January 20, 1999
Respondent: 17-year-old male
Application: Asylum; withholding of deportation

  • The BIA maintains that "the Immigration Judge adequately and correctly addressed the issues raised on appeal and her decision is affirmed based upon and for the reasons set forth in her decision."
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