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This article was originally published on June 16, 2021.

Today, the Department of Justice vacated Matter of A-B-, a decision that cruelly denied access to asylum for thousands of survivors of domestic violence and dramatically limited their access to safety. This decision reopens a pathway for survivors fleeing unimaginable brutality to seek safe haven as permitted under U.S. law.

“We applaud this momentous decision to make asylum protection more available for survivors of gender-based violence,” said Richard Caldarone, Tahirih Litigation Counsel. “From the beginning, we challenged the decision in Matter of A-B- because it foreclosed access to safety in many cases, excluding thousands of women, girls, and individuals fleeing rape, sexual assault, and other heinous forms of abuse. Now, survivors of gender-based violence will once again have greater access to the justice they deserve.”

In 2018, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued his decision in Matter of A-B- to overturn legal precedent affirming that domestic violence survivors may qualify for asylum as members of a particular social group. As a result, it became more difficult for survivors fleeing gender-based persecution to receive asylum. Today’s decision is a critical step in the right direction to ensure that survivors have access to safety and justice, and that gender-based violence is recognized as the systemic human rights abuse that it is.

Matter of A-B- was a dark cloud looming over survivors’ heads, keeping them in a constant state of fear of being returned to their persecutors,” said Adriana López, Tahirih Co-Director of Client Advocacy. “A huge emotional weight has been taken off survivors’ shoulders. Now they can be hopeful that their right to safety and justice can be honored, and they can focus on rebuilding their lives.”

Richard Caldarone and Adriana López are available for comment on this topic. Please contact Rachel Pak at media@tahirih.org to arrange an interview.