Attorney General Vacates Key BIA Asylum Decision

 In Asylum

On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions vacated a 2014 Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision requiring that those seeking asylum be afforded a full hearing before their asylum claims are denied. The practical implications of this decision remain to be seen, but many worry that this represents a step toward substantial limitations on the availability of asylum in the United States.

The decision by the Attorney General, which is available here, vacates the BIA’s decision in Matter of E-F-H-L-, 26 I&N Dec. 319 (BIA 2014).  As a technical matter, the AG’s decision to vacate the BIA’s decision is not based on the substance of the BIA’s landmark ruling that asylum claimants are entitled to a full hearing. Rather, it is based on the fact that the asylum claim in that case was put on hold while the applicant sought adjustment of status via an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. According to the Attorney General, the question of whether a full hearing on the asylum claim was required is now moot.

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