Recently, the 7th Circuit court of Appeals overturned a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals sustaining an Immigration Judge’s determination that former members of a particularly violent and powerful political party in Kenya were not members of a “particular social group” for purposes of seeking asylum in the US. In his opinion overturning that finding, Judge Posner called other findings by the Immigration Judge “absurd” and stated that at times the Immigration Judge “lapsed into incoherence” when discussing the asylees’ claims. He then goes on to list a dozen cases contradicting the Immigration Judge’s and the Board of Immigration Appeal’s reasoning in finding that the family was not a member of a particular social group.
Although the case will likely be approved for asylum after Judge Posner’s scathing critique, it is only after the family in question appealed two negative decisions and waited for eight years while their case was being processed. This highlights the continued confusion over what constitutes a “social group” for purposes of asylum applications showcases the importance of effective and persistent advocacy on the part of the attorneys and their clients.
Click here to read the surprisingly candid opinion http://www.ca7.uscourts.gov/tmp/QL0W325C.pdf