Precedential LGBTQ/H Asylum Cases

With asylum cases in general, and LGBTQ/H cases in particular, there is not that much precedent that exists. The vast majority of cases are decided without any written opinion at the Asylum Office level. Even cases that go before Immigration Judges are mostly decided by oral opinion which is only transcribed if a party appeals. In any event, decisions by Asylum Officers and Immigration Judges do not have precedential value.

Similarly, the vast majority of BIA decisions are unpublished. To date there has been only one precedential LGBTQ/H BIA decision. In recent years, there has been an increasing number of LGBT/H decisions in the federal Courts of Appeals.

The Asylum Decisions page on our website has case descriptions and links to every precedential LGBTQ/H asylum case decided by a federal court. It also has a very detailed chart summarizing more than a hundred unpublished decisions which are available on Westlaw and Lexis.

It is advisable to review some of these cases, especially those with decisions from the country your client is from. Bear in mind, however, that because each stage of appeal carries with it an increasingly deferential standard of review, some cases which lose on appeal might have been winnable before the asylum office or immigration court if the record had been better developed.

This Manual is intended to provide information to attorneys and accredited representatives. It is not intended as legal advice. Asylum seekers should speak with qualified attorneys before applying.

The information contained herein is for reference only and may not be up to date. It does not constitute legal advice. You should always consult an attorney regarding your matter.

This handbook is intended for use by pro bono attorneys and immigration attorneys working on LGBTQ/HIV asylum cases.



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