Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Immigration Policy Allows Asylum for Battered Women

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.


870 Market Street 111 West St. John Street,

Suite 340 Suite 513

San Francisco, CA 94102 San Jose, CA 95113

(415) 495-3710 (408) 975-0500

Benefits under the New Law on Widows and Survivors

By Crispin Lozano

The new law on widow(er) and survivors was signed by President Obama on October 28, 2009 allowing widows and survivors to apply for green card through self petition.

Question: What has changed under the new law on widows(er)?

Answer: The new law removes the two-year marriage requirement from the current law. It will allow a widow(er) who was married less than two years at the time of the U.S. citizen spouse’s death to file an I-360 petition from within two years of the law’s passage.

Question: What are the benefits provided for widows of United States citizen?

Answer: The following are the benefits:

1. A widow(er) who was married less than two years at the time of the U. S. citizen spouse death may file a self-petition within two years from October 28, 2009.
2. The law is retroactive. This means that even the death of the U.S. citizen spouse happened ten years ago, the widow(er) may still file within two years from October 28, 2009.
3. Children of widow(er) who are under 21 years of age at the time of self-petition may qualify as derivative beneficiary.

Question: What are the benefits for “OTHER SURVIVORS”?

Answer: The new law provides for the continuous adjudication of cases for those petitions filed before the death of the petitioner or principal immigrant provided these “other survivors” are in the United States at the time of death of the petitioner or principal beneficiary and they continue to reside in the United States up to the present.

Question: Who are included as “OTHER SURVIVORS”?

Answer: The following are considered “other survivors”:

1. Immediate relatives (spouse, parent, minor children of U.S. citizen)
2. Unmarried son of daughter of U.S. citizen
3. Married son or daughter of U.S. citizen
4. Spouse or child of lawful permanent resident
5. Brother and sister of U.S. citizen
6. Employment based dependents (spouse and minor children)

Question: Are other applications such as waiver applications included in the new law if the qualifying relative died?

Answer: Under the new law, it is possible for an application for a waiver to be approved provided an application or petition was filed by the qualifying relative prior to his or her death.

Note: This is not a legal advice and you need to speak to an immigration attorney about the specifics of your case.

Hot News of the Week
1. On October 29, 2009, our request for waiver of misrepresentation for entering as single but actually married for a client in Fresno, CA was approved by the Immigration Judge. He is the son of a U.S. citizen and he has been in the U. S. for 20 years. Mr. D can now apply for naturalization and bring his family to the United States.

2. Last October 20, 2009, we received an approval from the Administrative Appeals Office for an I-601 waiver request for Ms. W who made a misrepresentation by using another name at the time of entry to the United States. She is married to a U.S. citizen with two U.S. citizen sons and she has been in the U.S. for more than 20 years. Before the approval of the waiver, the USCIS denied her adjustment of status application two times.

3. Aliens who entered without inspection and are abused by U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse may file a self-petition and adjust status under Violence against Women Act (VAWA).

4. Applicants for adjustment of status through marriage are being separately interviewed if there is a wide difference in age, education, language, cultural background or difference in national origin, or some inconsistencies or suspicions in the application filed.

5. Denied adjustment of status and Naturalization applications are now being sent to the Immigration Court.

6. Income tax filing is required in the proposed legalization. Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) can be used for filing tax returns and is required before bank accounts can be opened. It is also needed by employers to charge to expense payment for contractual job. Our office assists clients in obtaining ITIN.
Crispin Caday Lozano is an active member of the State Bar of California and he specializes in immigration law. He earned his Juris Doctor at Western State University in Fullerton, California. His offices are located at 1290 B Street, Suite 203, Hayward, California 94541 and at 777 N. First St., Suite 333, San Jose, CA 95112. You can contact him at telephone number (510) 538-7188.