USCRI: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Domestic Violence Based Asylum

Immigration Judge Decisions/Briefs & Affidavits 

DHS Brief on Domestic Violence Based Asylum (04/13/2009)

 

El Salvador   HondurasGuatemala

El Salvador

ES.009  (Domestic Violence & Gang-Based Asylum)
"Melvin"
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Harlingen, Texas
Oral Decision of the Immigration Judge
March 1, 2001
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, Relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)
Respondent: 15-year-old male
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • Respondent’s father became involved with the girlfriend of the leader of MS.  For this reason, the MS verbally and physically assaulted the respondent, his father and grandmother.  The Court finds that the respondent’s persecution by the MS was a result of his membership in the particular social group of his immediate nuclear family. His father’s association with the MS gang caused them to be persecuted by that group.  The Court found also that the MS is a group that the Salvadorian government is unable or unwilling to control. 


ES.002 (Domestic Violence & Gang-Based Asylum)
“Juan Perez”
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Office of the Immigration Judge
Baltimore, Maryland
Redacted Brief in Support of Applications for Asylum and Withholding of Removal
Respondent: 17-year-old male

  • The respondent’s asylum application is based on his membership in two separate social groups, his own nuclear family and “people who refuse to join the gangs on account of their political opinion.”  Respondent claims that he fears persecution by both his abusive father and the MS gang.  Respondent contends that the MS gang is a political organization that imputed a political opinion to the respondent.  In the past, both his father and the gang have severely beaten him and threatened him with more physical attacks.  The brief shows that the government is both unable and unwilling to protect him.

ES.002B (Domestic Violence & Gang-Based Asylum)
“Juan Perez”
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Office of the Immigration Judge
Baltimore, Maryland
Affidavit

  • Affidavit of respondent who fled his country from persecution by both his father and the MS gang. 


ES.001 (Domestic Violence Asylum)
"Jose"
Executive Office for Immigration Review, Immigration Court
San Francisco, California, February 12, 2003
Oral decision of the Immigration Judge Polly Webber, REDACTED
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and Relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)
Respondent: 17-year-old male
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • The court granted asylum based on a well-founded fear of persecution by the father, who had systematically abused his family in the past.  This abuse made the respondent a member of the social group child victims of domestic violence in El Salvador.  The state of El Salvador was unable to provide the respondent protection from his father. The respondent submitted articles demonstrating the official tolerance of domestic violence in El Salvador. The respondent also cited the pervasive influence of gangs in El Salvador as another reason he feared returning to his country.

Honduras

H.016 (Domestic Violence Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Arlington, Virginia
Respondents Supplemental Brief, REDACTED
June 30, 2010
Applications: Asylum and/or withholding of removal

  • Respondent sought asylum as a member of the social group of Honduran children abandonded by their parents who are persecuted due to a lack of parental protection.
  • Respondent also pleaded for a grant humanitarian asylum based on the severity of the past persecution she suffered as a child.

H.015 (Domestic Violence & Gang-Based Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review
San Francisco, California
Brief, Declarations, Affidavits, and Supporting Documents, REDACTED
July 28, 2006
Applications: Asylum; Withholding of Removal, Relief under Article III of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)
CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE (CAT) GRANTED

  • Respondent sought asylum on account of her membership in the social group of Honduran teenage girls targeted, harassed, or recruited by gang members to participate in criminal activity and sexual exploitation.  She claims eligibility for asylum due to this immutable characteristic, which is also fundamental to an identity that she should not be required to change.  She is also eligible for asylum due to persecution for her anti-crime political opinion that Honduran police are not able or willing to protect her.  In addition, respondent claims eligibility for asylum as a member of the social group of her immediate family in which she was abused by her father.  She demonstrates that she has not only suffered past persecution but has a well-founded fear of future persecution as a young teenage girl with an anti-crime and anti-gang political opinion.  The court grants relief under CAT because it is "more likely than not" that the respondent would be persecuted upon returning to Honduras.  Repeated threats and sexual aggression from gang members and abuse by her father are substantiated by the lack of protection provided by Honduran police. 


H.011 (Domestic Violence Asylum)
"DM"
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Chicago, Illinois
Memorandum of Law and Facts, REDACTED
November 24, 2003
Applications: Asylum and/or withholding of removal
HUMANITARIAN ASYLUM GRANTED

  • Respondent sought asylum as a member of the social group of Honduran boys with parents murdered by close relatives that continue to suffer persecution because of an imputed political opinion.  Respondent argued that members of the social group share the immutable characteristics of gender, youth, membership in a violent family, lack of parental protection and a common past experience.
  • Respondent endured emotional and physical abuse as well as an explicit death threat from his extended family-- the same members of the famliy that were responsible for murdering his father.  He argued that this abuse is a form of persecution and thus establishes a well-founded fear of future persecution; he also noted that the Honduran authorities never investigated DM’s father’s death and are unable and/or unwilling to protect him from his extended family. In addition, Respondent argued that DM was persecuted on the basis of an imputed political claim, machismo, which DM’s uncles believe will motivate him to avenge his father’s death.

 
H.008 (Domestic Violence, Gang-Based & Street Children-Based Asylum)
Edwin Jovani Enamorado
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Harlingen, Texas
Decision of the Immigration Judge Burkhart
November 22, 1999
Applications: Asylum; withholding of removal; voluntary departure
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • Respondent sought asylum as a member of two social groups: as a former MS gang member and as an abandoned Honduran street child.  As a member of these two social groups, Edwin claimed he would face persecution by MS gang members, society and the police. He also claims to have suffered past persecution by his foster parents as a member of the social group of abandoned street children with scant resources.
  • The Court found Edwin to be a credible witness with consistent testimony, substantial background documentation and visible scars to confirm his testimony.  Edwin does not fall under the category of street children, though, as he has alternative parental figures willing take him into their home if he returns.  Thus the Court refused asylum based on what happened in his abusive foster parents’ household.  However, the Court agreed that Edwin does fall under the category of former MS gang member, and that this affiliation would provoke suppression or infliction of harm if he returned to Honduras. The Court held that members of the MS gang view  “individuals who are former gang members, as having characteristics that warrants suppression or the infliction of harm.”  As a minor, the Court also agreed that Edwin would have difficulty relocating in his own country.  The Court thus ruled that a reasonable person in Edwin’s position would fear persecution. 


H.004 (Domestic Violence & Gang-Based Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Immigration Court, Arlington, Virginia
Decision and Order by Judge Wayne R. Iskra
May 21, 2003
Applications: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, Relief under of Article III of the Convention against Torture (CAT)
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • The Court accepts that respondent was persecuted on account of his membership in the social group of his family, where he was a victim of domestic abuse.  The Court did not find that his membership in the social group of refusal to join gang (La Mara Salvatrucha (MS) amounted to persecution.

H.004A
Brief in Support of Application for Asylum

  • Respondent asserts claim for asylum based on past persucution at the hands of his parents and by the recruitment tactics of the MS gang.  Respondent consequently demonstrates his well-founded fear of future persecution not only as a street child of Honduras but also by the MS gang because of familial relations to one of the MS enemies. 

H.004B
Annotated Table of Contents 
 
H.001 (Domestic Violence Asylum)
"Juan"
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Immigration Court, Harlingen, Texas
Oral Decision of the Immigration Judge Burkhart
March 12, 1998
Respondent: 15-year-old male
Application: Asylum
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • Respondent was a victim of severe abuse at the hands of his stepfather.  Respondent claimed membership in the social group of victims of domestic abuse in Honduras where social services for abused children are not reliable or effective as in the United States.  Respondent indicated that upon return to Honduras he would have nowhere to go and would be forced to live on the streets.  As a member of the social group of street children in Honduras he would further be in danger of being harassed by gangs and Honduran government authorities.  The Court found that the government of Honduras was unable or unwilling to protect the Respondent.

Guatemala

G.005 (Domestic Violence, Gang-Based & Street Children-Based Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Phoenix, Arizona
Decision of the Immigration Court, REDACTED
March 20, 2003
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • Asylum was granted to a 17-year-old female and her 18-month-old daughter as a matter of discretion. The court found that she was persecuted on account of membership in a particular social group.  The social group was first her nuclear family, when she was a victim of physical, psychological and sexual abuse by her parents. She then became a member of the social group of abandoned street children and babies.  The Court determined that Guatemalan government protection of victims of domestic violence and street children is ineffective.  The Department of State report on Guatemala establishes “a chilling pattern of persecution in Guatemala of abandoned street children.”  While living on the streets she joined the 18th Street gang.  When she became the target of a death threat she fled to the United States.  In addition, the Court gave her a humanitarian grant of asylum on account of the severity of her suffering.

G.004 (Domestic Violence Asylum)
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Immigration Court, San Francisco, California
Decision of the Immigration Judge, REDACTED
September 24, 2004
Application: Asylum
ASYLUM GRANTED

  • Social group Guatemalan females stigmatized as mentally deficient.  The Court noted that “extensive evidence...demonstrates that Guatemalan police and the judicial system systematically unresponsive to reports of domestic abuse of women.”  The Court found that the Guatemalan government was “unable or unwilling” to protect the Respondent from sexual abuse suffered by her brother.
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