Board of Immigration Appeals Decision on Regarding Children, Brain Development and Trauma (May 22, 2017) [pdf]

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decided on May 22, 2017 that the applicant’s age, language proficiency, time in the United States, interactions with legal service providers, physical and mental health and well-being, socio-economic and family status, and housing or detention situation of young adults are factors that should be considered in a case-by-case analysis to decide the existence of an extraordinary circumstance. The BIA acknowledged that some extraordinary circumstances can be directly related to the failure to meet the 1-year deadline. The decision recognizes that young adults could have more difficulty recovering from trauma, locating housing or obtaining legal assistance. Understanding, trauma negatively affects the development of emotional and cognitive faculties in children and adolescents. The decision also clarifies the BIA`s position that for purposes of the asylum filing deadline, a minor is a person less than 18 years old.