By Atty Monica Ganjoo
QUESTION: Is it possible for a woman to get asylum in the United States if she was abused by her spouse in her home country?
ANSWER: Yes. The Obama administration has just granted a new policy that allows foreign women to receive asylum in the United States. This new policy applies to women who are victims of severe domestic beatings and sexual abuse. The Obama administration has opened the door to the protection of women who have suffered severe violations.
QUESTION: What must an applicant for asylum show in order to get his/her case granted?
ANSWER: An asylum applicant must demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Thanks to the Obama administration, battered women will now be included in this list.
QUESTION: What requirements need to be met in order to be granted asylum under this new category?
ANSWER: In addition to meeting the conditions of asylum, abused women also need to show that they are treated by their abuser as subordinates and little better than property, and that domestic abuse is widely tolerated in their home country. The abused woman must show that she could not find protection from institutions in their home country or by moving to another location within that country.
QUESTION: How did this new policy come about?
ANSWER: The Obama administration laid out its position in an immigration appeals court case of a Mexican woman who applied for asylum in San Francisco, stating that she feared she would be killed by her common-law spouse in Mexico. This woman was repeatedly raped by her him at gunpoint, was held captive, and was stolen from. More shocking, her common-law spouse had broken her nose and tried to burn her alive when he had found out that she was pregnant. This woman had asked for her from her local police but the reports were dismissed of violence as a private matter. Finally, in 2004, she fled to the United States with her three children (abuser was the father of all three children).
QUESTION: Does this new policy apply to women fleeing genital mutilation?
ANSWER: No, this policy only applies to battered women in domestic relations. Each case is highly fact dependent and requires scrutiny of the threats that an applicant has faced and will continue to face if she is returned to her home country.
For more information, you may contact us for a consultation.
MONICA GANJOO is an immigration attorney with offices in San Francisco and San Jose. Ganjoo Law Office currently offers $25 consultations in San Francisco, San Jose, or through the telephone. To obtain a consultation in San Francisco, call (415) 495-3710. To obtain a consultation in San Jose, call (408) 975-0500.
SAN FRANCISCO: SAN JOSE:
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Suite 340 Suite 513
San Francisco, CA 94102 San Jose, CA 95113
(415) 495-3710 (408) 975-0500