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    Posted August 30, 2014 by

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    Landmark Immigration Decision Extends Asylum to Victim of Domestic Violence


    Landmark Immigration Decision Extends Asylum to Victim of Domestic Violence

    Louisville, KY- The Board of Immigration Appeals just made a landmark decision, granting asylum status to Guatemalan woman who suffered years of physical abuse at the hands of her husband. After police in her native country either refused to help her or couldn’t help her she sought asylum in the U.S.

    Not only is the decision timely with the mass migration of Central American immigrants at the Southern border, but it also gives victims of asylum a new opportunity to escape a dangerous and potentially deadly situation.  Although, this particular decision applies only to Guatemalan immigrants, it could have an influence on future asylum cases in which the domestic violence issue is raised.

    In their opinion, the Board of Immigration Appeals said the unidentified woman at the center of this case, suffered “harm rising to the level of persecution,” according to the San Francisco Gate.

    Citing the prevailing “culture of machismo and family violence,” in Guatemala, the BIA found that the woman, enduring repeated beatings from her husband with no help from authorities, belong to a “persecuted social group,” and was therefore eligible for asylum status.

    To understand why the BIA agreed to it helps to know the severity of the violence this woman was subjected to throughout her marriage. According to the San Francisco Gate, she was subjected to weekly beatings, once burned her with paint thinner and raped her, meanwhile Guatemalan authorities refused to interfere in her marriage.

    The woman fled to the U.S. with her two children and made a request for asylum. An immigration court initially ruled she was a victim of a crime and not persecution, the Gate reported.  But he court also noted that because she could not get help from governmental authorities, there was evidence of persecution.

    Proving they deserve asylum is one of the most difficult challenges and immigrant faces. Applying for asylum status and being successful requires a significant burden of proof so applicants much have an immigration attorney on their side.

    It’s important to note that even though the BIA broadened their definition of social group under asylum rules, it doesn’t mean that it opens asylum up to untold millions of immigrants. Again, asylum is very hard to get. According to NBC News, out of 86,053 asylum applications received by USCIS, only 29 percent are approved so don’t expect the flood gates to open. There are also annual caps and other restrictions on who can apply for status.

    But this decision does give hope to hundreds of immigrants who are also victims of domestic violence and will offer them a new avenue to escape horrific violence which, too often, can lead to a victim’s untimely demise.

    Immigration, whether you are seeking asylum status, trying to get a green card or are facing deportation, can be an overwhelming undertaking for an immigrant. They need an immigration attorney to devote their time and energy to assure they are successful in whatever endeavor they embark on.






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