Sunday, February 12, 2017

Can the Trump administration narrow the use of "particular social group" for asylum seekers?

To try to gauge what “could” happen with asylum seeking in the Trump administration and GOP-controlled Congress, it’s helpful to drag out United States Code 1158, Asylum. as well as the USCIS site.

It’s also helpful to look at well-regarded legal sites, like Nolo, here

 Particularly fundamental to the asylum process is the PSG, or Particular Social Group, as explained here in Wikipedia.

The Asylumist has a perspective written right after Trump’s election. and here .
Here is a summary of some appeals court litigation on the PSG concept from Immigration Justice.

The takeaway from these sites is that immigration judges and administrators have a lot of sway in what they view as a credible PSG.  Decisions are supposed to be "case by case".

The statute appears to give a lot of discretion to the Attorney General (Jeff Sessions) and Secretary of Homeland Security.   One can imagine valid reasons to narrow the granting of asylum by PSG (or political speech).  One concern could be the sheer volume of claims at the southern border regarding conditions in Central America.  But a reading of the laws suggest that the AG is not supposed to inject his personal opinions (as about gay rights) into a determination like this; doing so could invite litigation.

Hosts of asylum seekers need to be aware of USC 1324, here.

See coordinated post on GLBT blog Feb. 13.

Update:  Thursday, February 16, 2017

"The Asylumist" writes on Facebook here.  Dzubow answers my question this way: "As long as they are on hold from the courts, the EO's do not affect asylum seekers in the U.S..... However, if the EO's are implemented, it could prevent the asylum seekers from getting a decision. They cannot be deported without due process of law, but they can be put on hold pending "extreme vetting", whatever that is.  I wrote a bit about PSG here  (Nov. 9)

Note well the paragraph "People with asylum cases pending."

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