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Asylum for Battered Women

February 7, 2011
Plain English Version

The Obama administration is going to permit foreign women who suffer serious domestic violence to receive asylum in the United States. This means they can live in this country legally as refugees.
Women must show they have no protection at home. They must show they cannot get protection in their own country.
The Department of Homeland Security is changing its policy. For the first time, they are saying, “…applicants who have experienced domestic violence could qualify for asylum.”
The case that is changing the policy comes from a Mexican woman. She said her husband forced her to have sex with him by putting a gun or a machete to her head. He broke her nose. He said he would kill the small children of her sister. When she was pregnant, he poured kerosene on the bed where she was sleeping and set it on fire.
Local police said her reports were “a private matter.” A judge she turned to for help tried to seduce her.
“In Mexico, men believe they have a right to abuse their women because they are like a possession,” she said. With three children born from forced sex with the man, she fled to California in 2004.
An immigration judge denied her asylum claim in 2006. The government is now reviewing the case. The government said, “this does not mean that every victim of domestic violence would be eligible for asylum.”
The rules for the new policy will be coming out in the future. There will still be a lot of red tape. It will not be easy for women to get asylum. However, this is a big change in U.S policy.

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