HIRC Advocates for Domestic Violence as Basis for Asylum, BIA Agrees

HLSCongratulations to the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic for its important advocacy efforts on behalf of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, which served as an amicus in Matter of A-R-C-G et al.  HIRC’s brief supported a Guatemalan woman who had applied for asylum in the United States and had been found by an an Immigration Judge — along with her three minor children — removable.  The Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision in the case described the lead respondent as a “member of a particular social group composed of ‘married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship’” and recognized that domestic violence can serve as a basis for asylum, remanding to the Immigration Judge for further proceedings.  As HIRC Director Deborah Anker said“[w]e have won many cases of women fleeing domestic violence at the immigration court and asylum office and changed the institutional culture at that level, but yesterday’s decision from the BIA finally establishes these principles as formal binding precedent.”

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