De Pena-Paniagua v. Barr, No. 18-2100 (1st Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The First Circuit held that the requirements for establishing membership in a particular social group in support of a request for asylum or withholding of removal do not categorically preclude applicants from successfully relying on any group defined in material part as women "unable to leave" a domestic relationship.
Petitioner, a native and citizen of the Dominican Republic, sought asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. Petitioner alleged that her former domestic partner and the father of her son abused her in the past, will abuse her in the future, and will remain unfettered by Dominican law enforcement authorities. The immigration judge ruled against Petitioner in part on claimed inadequacy of the tendered social groups. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed. The First Circuit remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that the BIA's holding that Petitioner's claim necessarily failed because the groups to which she claimed to belong were necessarily deficient was arbitrary and unexamined.