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Thirty years after the enactment of the Refugee Act of 1980, the Board of Immigration Appeals and U.S. courts and have not reached consensus on a uniform definition for the protected category of “particular social group.” The lack of consensus has created much confusion and inconsistent results for applicants seeking asylum in the United States. This Note examines one family’s grant of asylum as a vehicle for analyzing the two main approaches to “particular social group” and argues that the current treatment of the two standards as mutually exclusive by the BIA and the federal courts is inconsistent with the U.N. Guidelines. The Note concludes that U.S. jurisprudence on “particular social group” should mirror the approach of the U.N. Guidelines, which envisions broader protection under that category.


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7 Sep 2022
595 kB



  • Subject
    • Education Law

    • Immigration Law

  • Journal title
    • Boston College International and Comparative Law Review

  • Volume
    • 34

  • Issue
    • 2

  • Pagination
    • 439

  • Date submitted

    7 September 2022