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Immigration Law

Deadly Inertia: Needless Delay of “Particular Social Group” Regulations Puts Asylum Seekers at Risk

CGRS, Feb. 10, 2022

"On February 2, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order (“EO”) which directed executive branch agencies to review and then take action on numerous aspects of our shattered asylum system.1 Of particular interest to the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS), and many asylum seekers, legal experts, and allies, was a provision ordering the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to conduct a comprehensive examination of whether U.S. treatment of asylum claims based on domestic or gang violence is consistent with international standards, and to propose a joint rule on the meaning of “particular social group,” as that term is derived from international law (emphasis added). 2 The deadlines set by the President – August 1, 2021 for the examination of current law on domestic violence and gang claims, and October 30, 2021 for the proposed regulations on particular social group – have come and gone. We are concerned that the administration has offered no indication of its progress on what should be a simple task, given that international law and authoritative international standards on particular social group are clear.3 This reference guide explains why regulations on particular social group are important, why this legal issue has become so contentious, and why there is no good reason for the delay in proposing regulations. We point out that there is a clear path forward for the United States to realign its treatment of asylum claims with established international standards, which is precisely what the EO mandates."