Domestic violence as a valid basis for grant of asylum:

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, §101, individuals may qualify and be granted asylum in the US if they can prove:

1. a well-founded fear
2. of persecution
3. perpetuated by the government or an entity the government cannot or will not control
4. on account of
5. one of the five protected grounds

These five protected grounds are:

1. Race
2. Religion
3. Nationality
4. Political Opinion
5. Social Group

There are many cases that deal with each category and have established what may or may not be acceptable grounds for asylum, what “well founded fear”, “persecution” and by whom mean.

Recent decisions by US courts are recognizing domestic violence and abuse as a valid basis for grant of asylum. The facts and evidence must still establish a “well-founded fear of persecution” and the other elements for granting asylum must still be met. However, domestic abuse and violence by a partner, is being recognized more and more by US courts as persecution. Recently, in Matter of X (Feb 24, 2014), a Guatemalan woman, abused by her domestic partner (not even legally married) was granted asylum based on the evidence of abuse and fear of persecution presented.

According to the Court, “[t]he evidence demonstrates that Guatemala is unable or unwilling to protect the Respondent from Mr. Z. Thus, the Court finds that the Respondent has established that she has suffered past persecution at the hands of an actor that the government of Guatemala is unable or unwilling to control because seeking government protection would be futile. Therefore, the Respondent is entitled to the rebuttable presumption that she has a well-founded fear of future persecution … conditions render relocation within Guatemala unreasonable for the Respondent.”

In addition, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows victims of domestic violence who are the child, parent, or current/former spouse of a US citizen or green card holder and who are abused by that US citizen or green card holder, to apply for a green card themselves without needing the abuser to file for them.

U visas are available for victims of criminal activity who are willing to assist in criminal investigation of the crime which violated US laws. These victims are not required to be in legal status.

Finally, T visas are available for victims of “human trafficking” who will assist in investigation of such crimes.
For any specific questions or to discuss your case, please call our office at 949-667-0976 or email us at :