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Immigration Appeals Court Finds Domestic Violence Victims May Qualify For Asylum

By Author: Brooks Richmond
Total Articles: 99

On August 26, 2014, the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) issued a major ruling finding that immigrants coming to the U.S. to flee domestic violence in their home country may be eligible for asylum. While asylum claims based on domestic violence are not new, until this point the BIA had declined to issue a formal ruling that victims of violence may be classified as a “particular social group” for the purposes of receiving asylum in the U.S.

The laws of asylum in the U.S. are extremely complicated and succeeding with an asylum claim is rare. For example, according to a report by Syracuse University, the immigration judges in Charlotte on average denied 75% of asylum claims made since 2009. In order to receive asylum, applicants must demonstrate that they cannot return to their country because: (1) they have good reason to fear, (2) persecution, such as violence or unlawful arrest and jailing, (3) by the government or by someone the government cannot control, (4) because the applicant belongs to, (5) a protected group based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or their being in a “particular social group.” Many asylum claims fail because, although the applicant may face violence in their home country, he or she cannot prove that it is because of a special circumstance such as their race or politics. Simply put, the U.S. does not give asylum to people who claim they are afraid to go back to their home country only because there is a lot crime or violence.

With its decision in “Matter of A-R-C-G-” the BIA sets new precedent by stating that “married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship” may be classified as a “particular social group” for the purpose of claiming asylum. Of course, every case is different, and whether or not an individual asylum applicant will succeed with their claim will depend on the evidence they present in their case. In their recent decision, the BIA makes this clear when they state “any claim regarding the existence of a particular social group in a country must be evaluated in the context of the evidence presented regarding the particular circumstances in the country in question.” Forms of evidence used in asylum cases often include the applicant’s truthful testimony, official reports on the laws, culture, and conditions in the applicant’s home country, testimony from university professors who have expert knowledge of the applicant’s home country, and proof of violence such as hospital records and police reports.

Whether or not someone has a strong asylum case depends on the specific facts in their case and the evidence available. If someone is interested in applying for asylum, it is best they talk to an experienced immigration attorney first. Asylum is a very difficult field of law, but with this new decision by the BIA, people to come to the U.S. to flee domestic violence may have a better chance of succeeding with their case.
Charlotte Immigration Law Firm is a boutique legal practice focusing exclusively in the area of immigration and nationality law. Opened in 2009, the Firm handles a full range of immigration matters, including employment and family based immigration petitions, removal defense, and appeals. Our immigration attorneys and legal staff help aspiring Americans, their families, and their employers navigate the complexities of U.S. immigration law. We represent our clients before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), the Executive Office for Immigration Review (“EOIR” or “Immigration Court”), the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”), and consular posts around the world.
We provide affordable immigration advice and representation to individuals, families and companies locally and worldwide. As your Immigration Lawyers in Charlotte NC we strive to construct personalized legal strategies for our clients, and deliver quality advice and competitive services in a trustful, honest, and professional manner. Our Immigration Lawyers in Charlotte offer clients absolute confidentiality, a rigorous and innovative approach to your legal problems, while the firm's light structure allows for undivided personal attention and affordable representation.
If you need assistance with any immigration matter, please contact our Immigration Lawyers in Charlotte NC at 704-944-3239. Our Immigration Lawyers in Charlotte provide business immigration advice and representation locally and worldwide.

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