Membership in a Particular Social Group

Asylum Based on Membership of Social Groups

The meaning of “a particular social group” requires that members of the group share a common immutable trait. Such traits may include sex, color, kinship ties, or past experience, that a member either cannot change or that is so fundamental to the identity or conscience of the member that he or she should not be required to change it. Groups commonly pursing asylum based on particular social group are as follows:


Gender is recognized as a particular social group. The asylum applicant needs to make sure that they establish the relevant position of women before the law, including their standing in court, the right to lay a complaint and give evidence, divorce and custody law, the right to own property, the right to have or refuse an abortion, the right to vote, to marry the person of her choice, the right to an education, a career, and a job or other remunerated activities.


Family membership has been an accepted social group formulation in asylum claims as “kinship ties” were considered an immutable characteristic and form a valid particular social group. The family relationship needs to be one central reason for feared persecution in order to succeed in an asylum claim based on family. And it will be critical to focus testimony and evidence on motive. If the testimony and evidence is only that a persecutor targeted the applicant for a separate reason, such as failure to pay a war tax, the application will most likely be denied.


An essential component of an asylum application for a lesbian, gay, or bisexual applicant will be proving that they are in fact lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Relevant proof may include testimony or documentation by past partners or friends living in the United States. A deep understanding of country conditions related to gay rights is necessary in order to succeed on your asylum claim based on sexual orientation.

An Austin immigration lawyerAbogados de Inmigracion en Austin TX – can help you determine if applying for asylum based on a particular social group may benefit you or your family. Learn more by contacting Michael G. Murray, P.A today!

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