Becoming Unconventional: Constricting the 'Particular Social Group' Ground for Asylum
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Part I of this Article provides a brief background about the evolution of the PSG ground in the United States and how it has become increasingly complicated and constricted over time. Part II discusses several ways that recent administrative decisions have imposed uniquely strict requirements for PSG-based asylum claims, both procedurally and substantively. Namely, the recent decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") in Matter of W-Y-C- & H-O-B- creates two new procedural restrictions. First, it imposes an exceedingly strict pleading standard in PSG cases by requiring "exact delineation" of the PSG. Second, Matter of W-Y-C prohibits asylum seekers from revising their PSG in an administrative appeal, departing from longstanding practice. At the same time, the Attorney General's recent decision in Matter of A-B- imposes two significant substantive restrictions. It purports to exclude entire categories of claims from the PSG ground. Additionally, it imposes a heightened legal standard for showing persecution by non-governmental actors, which is especially common in gender-related cases brought under the PSG ground. Part III explores the significant implications of these recent developments.
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