‘My husband beat me’

Now it is possible  to apply for asylum

QUESTION: My husband beat me and I was afraid for my life, so I escaped to the United States. Can I apply for something so I do not have to go back to my home country?
Answer: Yes, it may be possible to apply for gender-based asylum. This is not your normal ‘political’ asylum, but rather, one based on ‘gender-based’ immigration. This would be considered a social group.
Question: What is a ‘social group’ and how to define it?
Answer: There are several grounds in which you can apply for asylum. One of the grounds is if you are being persecuted because you are in a ‘social group’. You have to define an immutability characteristic. This is where a person cannot change OR it is so fundamental that the person should not have to change. The social group can be argued differently depending on the particular situation in which you are finding yourself.
For xample, n he mall amount of information you have given here, the social group might be married persons who are beaten by their spouses and cannot get any governmental help. It is not easy to define a social group and certain case law actually makes it more difficult. However, do not despair as it can certainly be done.
Question: What if I know somebody in question is not married, but is still being beaten by her husband and has escaped to the U.S. Can she apply for this kind of asylum?
Answer: In this case, there is actually an unpublished case that allows this to go forward. However, even without this case, it is possible. You will have to define the social group differently. In this case, I can see some groups similarly referencing women that are being beaten, but are in ‘common law’ marriages and/or who have kids that have suffered, etc.
Question: What if my country has laws against domestic violence? Will I not be able to apply?
Answer: Even if your home country has laws against domestic violence, you can show that the government is unable or unwilling to enforce it. This is purely a factual endeavor and must be elaborated on and built up during the trial.
Question: Are there other issues that I should be aware of when trying to prove my case?
Answer: Internal relocation is an issue. It is important to clearly document and show that if the government is going after you, there is nowhere to hide. If it is an individual that is going after you, then you must show how he/she will follow you.
Also, assuming you had to just pick up and go to escape the beatings, try to show loss of property, loss of livelihood, and whatever you left behind.  Try to show that the persecutor has a broader reach than just the local place upon which you are living.
Question: Are there any other similar related issues whereby somebody can file for gender-based asylum?
Answer: Yes. An example would be child abuse. You would look for the social group, such as children are sold as property, or unable to leave of abusive parents, or sold as sex slaves. Another example might be forced relationships and/or forced marriages. Additionally, you can see if the particular persecution violates religious views or race issues. Other issues might be female genital mutilation, homosexuals, homosexual marriages and transgenders. Thus, as you can ee, here re any xamples of gender-based asylum cases.n

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Atty. Brian D. Lerner has been an Immigration Attorney for nearly a quarter of a century. He is married to a Filipina and has helped thousands of Filipino families all over the country. In addition to his offices in Southern California in Long Beach and Carson, he has an office in Quezon City. He is a certified specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Legal Board of Specialization, California State Bar. The initial consultation is free. Call (562) 495-0554 and/or send an e-mail to blerner@californiaimmigration.us.

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