4th Circuit Further Defines Family Asylum Group

A comprehensive decision, Sandra Hernandez-Cartagena v. William Barr (https://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/opinions/191823.P.pdf) by the 4th Circuit overturning and remanding a denial of asylum by an immigration judge, affirmed by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), affirms the legitimacy of a family unit as an appropriate social group for asylum protection. The Fourth Circuit found that the BIA’s decision denying the asylum claim was ” manifestly contrary to the law and an abuse of discretion.”

The immigration judge and the BIA decided the case based on an analysis that a young woman was targeted by a gang individually, raped and beaten because she could not pay extortion, even though her brother had also been injured and the stated purpose of the extortion was to get the parents to pay money to the gang. This decision provides a good analysis for the pleading and testimonial requirements that support such an asylum claim, a situation which often results in denials when the victim of such extortion does not understand the legal requirements for such a claim.