(April 30, 2020) – On April 24, 2020, the First Circuit issued a positive decision in De Pena-Paniagua v. Barr, an asylum case involving a domestic violence survivor from the Dominican Republic, Ms. Jacelys Miguelina De Pena-Paniagua.
Blaine Bookey, Legal Director at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS), breaks down the De Pena ruling and its significance for asylum seekers around the country in the first video of CGRS’s “Asylum in the 21st Century: What’s New?” series. The Center also recently published a one-page factsheet on the decision in Spanish.
Ms. De Pena’s case is emblematic of the protection crisis created by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ 2018 Matter of A-B- ruling, which has been used by judges to single out women’s asylum claims for discriminatory treatment. Last year the Board of Immigration Appeals – the Justice Department’s highest level of immigration review – wrongly denied Ms. De Pena asylum, using Matter of A-B- as justification to deprive her of a fair hearing.
The First Circuit’s decision in De Pena marks an important victory in the Immigrant Women Too campaign’s efforts to reverse Matter of A-B- and reopen pathways to protection for domestic violence survivors and others fleeing persecution in their home countries.