CGRS Comment on Attorney General Decision in Matter of A-B-

Thursday, January 14, 2021

On Thursday Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen issued a new ruling in Matter of A-B-, the Salvadoran asylum case that has become the battleground on the issue of whether survivors of domestic violence, gang brutality, and other abuses can qualify for refugee protection in the United States. On June 11, 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a devastating decision in the case, reversing a grant of asylum to Ms. A.B., a domestic violence survivor, and casting serious doubt on the asylum claims of people like her. Sessions’ ruling led to a sharp downturn in asylum grant rates for women, children, and families fleeing epidemic levels of violence in Central America.

While Ms. A.B.’s case remains pending before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, today’s ruling attempts to erect additional barriers to protection for people escaping harrowing persecution.

In response to Rosen’s decision, Blaine Bookey, counsel for Ms. A.B. and Legal Director at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS), made the following comment:

After enduring over a decade of unspeakable violence in her home country, our client Ms. A.B. came to the United States in search of refuge. Instead she has faced callous cruelty – first in the courtroom of a hostile immigration judge and, for the past three years, as an unwilling pawn in the outgoing administration’s campaign to end asylum. Several courts have roundly rejected the Trump administration’s efforts to eliminate protection for courageous survivors like Ms. A.B. It is utterly shameful that, in its final days, Trump’s Department of Justice is pursuing this last-ditch attempt to rewrite our laws and abandon our country’s commitments to people fleeing persecution.

CGRS will continue to fight for justice for Ms. A.B. We’re ready to hold the Biden administration accountable to its promises to restore asylum for domestic violence survivors and all others who turn to the United States for safe haven. As a first step, the new administration must vacate both Attorney General rulings in Ms. A.B.’s case and revoke Trump-era regulations that seek to codify Matter of A-B- and restrict access to asylum.