Matter of E-R-A-L- Vacated

Last Updated

August 6, 2021

The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., or CLINIC, and the Duke Law School Immigrant Rights Clinic filed a petition for review in March 2020 challenging a Board of Immigration Appeals precedent denying asylum protections for immigrants fleeing gangs and drug traffickers.

The Board’s decision in Matter of E-R-A-L-, 27 I&N Dec. 767 (BIA 2020), narrowed the criteria for offering asylum based on “membership in a particular social group.” While persecution on account of a person’s family membership and persecution due to land ownership have long been understood as providing a valid basis to claim asylum, the Board cast doubt on both types of asylum claims.

In December 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated the Board’s decision and remanded for further proceedings. On May 4, 2021, the Board acknowledged that the Ninth Circuit’s order vacated its decision in E-R-A-L- and remanded the matter to the Immigration Judge.

The Ninth Circuit’s judgment vacating E-R-A-L- deprives the Board’s decision of precedential effect on a nationwide basis. CLINIC and the Duke Immigrant Rights Clinic have published a practice alert further explaining the effect of the Ninth Circuit’s judgment.