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CA1 on Social Group: De Pena-Paniagua v. Barr

April 24, 2020 (1 min read)

De Pena-Paniagua v. Barr

"In this case we confront the perplexing question of whether the requirements for establishing membership in a particular social group in support of a request for asylum or withholding of removal categorically reject any group defined in material part as women "unable to leave" a domestic relationship. For the following reasons, we hold that there is no such categorical rule precluding any and all applicants from successfully relying upon such a group in support of a request for asylum or withholding of removal. ...  we reject as arbitrary and unexamined the BIA holding in this case that De Pena's claim necessarily fails because the groups to which she claims to belong are necessarily deficient. Rather, the BIA need consider, at least, whether the proffered groups exist and in fact satisfy the requirements for constituting a particular social group to which De Pena belongs."

[Hats off to a big team, including Jonathan Ng, with whom Robert F. Ley and Law Offices of Johanna Herrero were on brief, for petitioner; Eunice Lee, with whom Blaine Bookey, Anne Dutton, and Karen Musalo were on brief, for Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, amicus curiae; Sheila I. Velez Martinez, Linda Hamilton, Nahla Kamaluddin, and University of Pittsburgh School of Law Immigration Law Clinic, on brief for Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, National Council of Jewish Women, and Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, amici curiae; Anjum Gupta and Mary Holper, on brief for Immigration Law Professors, amicus curiae; John Willshire Carrera, Zachary A. Albun, Nancy Kelly, Sabrineh Ardalan, Deborah Anker, Steven H. Schulman, Martine E. Cicconi, and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, on brief for Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, amicus curiae; and Richard W. Mark, Amer S. Ahmed, Indraneel Sur, Timothy Sun, Grace E. Hart, Chris Jones, and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, on brief for Twenty-Nine Former Immigration Judges and Members of the Board of Immigration Appeals, amicus curiae!]