Statement in Response to Sessions' Decision in Matter of A-B- by Retired Immigration Judges and Former Members of the Board of Immigration Appeals

Statement in Response to Sessions' Decision in Matter of A-B- by Retired Immigration Judges and Former Members of the Board of Immigration Appeals

June 11, 2018 - "As former Immigration Judges with decades of experience at the trial and appellate level, we consider the Attorney General’s decision an affront to the rule of law. As former judges, we understand that in order to be fair, case law must develop through a process of impartial judicial analysis applying statute, regulations, case law, and other proper sources to the facts of the case. The life-or-death consequences facing asylum applicants makes it extremely important to keep such analysis immune from the political considerations that appointed cabinet members are subject to.

The BIA’s acknowledgment that a victim of domestic violence may qualify for asylum as a member of a particular social group was the culmination of a 15 year process through the immigration courts and BIA. The issue was certified by three different Attorneys General (one Democrat and two Republican), who all chose in the end to leave the final determination to the immigration judges and the BIA. The private bar, law enforcement agencies (including DHS), the BIA, and the circuit courts all agreed with this final determination. What is more, a person who suffers persecution that is perpetrated by private parties whom their government cannot or will not control, is equally eligible for asylum protection under both US law and international refugee treaties.

For reasons understood only by himself, the Attorney General today erased an important legal development that was universally agreed to be correct. Today we are deeply disappointed that our country will no longer offer legal protection to women seeking refuge from terrible forms of domestic violence from which their home countries are unable or unwilling to protect them. We hope that appellate courts or Congress through legislation will reverse this unilateral action and return the rule of law to asylum adjudications.

Sincerely,

Honorable Steven R. Abrams Honorable Sarah M. Burr
Honorable Jeffrey S. Chase
Honorable Bruce J. Einhorn
Honorable Cecelia Espenoza
Honorable Noel Ferris
Honorable John F. Gossart, Jr.
Honorable William P. Joyce
Honorable Carol King
Honorable Elizabeth A. Lamb
Honorable Margaret McManus
Honorable Susan Roy
Honorable Lory D. Rosenberg
Honorable Paul W. Schmidt
Honorable Polly A. Webber"