Articles Posted in 2018

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In Matter of A-R-C-G-, 26 I&N Dec. 388 (BIA 2014), the Board of Immigration Appeals ruled that a victim of domestic violence was eligible for asylum based on her membership in a particular social group comprised of “married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship.” Yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions overruled that decision. In Matter of A-B-, 27 I&N Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018), the Attorney General held that “claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence of gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will [generally] not qualify for asylum.”

To establish a claim for asylum, an alien must be “unable or unwilling to return to her country of origin because she suffered past persecution or has a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of ‘race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.'” When a claim is based on membership in a particular social group, the applicant must demonstrate

(1) membership in a particular group, which is composed of members who share a common immutable characteristic, is defined with particularity, and is socially distinct within the society in question;


Posted in: Immigration Law

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On February 26, 2018, Texas1 filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief against the United States, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service alleging that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a/k/a the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare) was unconstitutional. Six years earlier, in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, which “require[d] most Americans to maintain ‘minimum essential’ health insurance coverage,” as a valid exercise of Congressional power under the Taxing Clause. The plaintiffs now argue that since Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which eliminated the tax penalty of the Affordable Care Act, the individual mandate is no longer a valid exercise of Congressional power under the Taxing Clause since removal of the tax penalty disconnects the individual mandate from the collection of taxes.

Plaintiffs further argued that without the individual mandate, the rest of the Affordable Care Act must fall since the individual mandate underpins the guaranteed-issue and community-rating requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The guaranteed-issue requirement prohibits health plans from denying coverage to applicants with pre-existing conditions. The community-rating requirement prohibits health insurers from charging higher premiums to persons with pre-existing conditions.


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Today, President Trump declassified a memorandum dated January 18, 2018, from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence ("Nunes Memo"). This memo alleged abuses by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation while seeking a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to conduct electronic surveillance of Carter Page.

Posted in: Federal, Government