Saturday, October 31, 2009

Door finally open to gender-based asylum claims?

After 14 years of limbo, Rodi Alvarado may receive a grant of asylum.
As IntLawGrrl Amy Senier then posted, this summer the administration announced its intention to adopt regulations that have been pending since Matter of R-A- was first litigated in the mid-1990s.
This week, in a one-paragraph brief issued from the office of Chief Counsel Ron LeFevre, the Department of Homeland Security announced that Alvarado “is eligible for asylum and merits a grant of asylum as a matter of discretion.” This succinct brief not only paves the way for an Immigration Judge to grant her asylum, but appears also to be following through on the promise to adopt and implement regulations creating broader possibilities for gender-based asylum brought under the claim of "membership in a particular social group."
Alvarado (above left) fled horrific domestic violence at the hands of her husband, including his attempts to induce an abortion by repeatedly kicking her in the abdomen, as well as dragging her down the street by her hair and using her head to break mirrors and windows. Her attorney throughout these 14 years, Karen Musalo (right), Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, University of California, Hastings College of the Law, should be congratulated for tirelessly pursuing the government's 14 year old promise to revise the regulations.
Let us now see whether the administration follows through in the face of inevitable criticism that the decision opens the floodgates to hoards of victims of domestic violence who go unprotected in their own countries.

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