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Additional action is still critical to ensure protection for immigrant women and girls

Tahirih Justice Center applauds an Aug. 26 decision from the highest immigration court in the nation that confirms that women who have experienced domestic violence may qualify for asylum.

“For all of Tahirih’s clients and women applying for asylum in the United States because of domestic violence, this decision is a huge step forward,” said Archi Pyati, Tahirih’s Director of Public Policy. “But there is more work to do. Legal protection for domestic violence victims seeking asylum in the U.S. needs to be clearly stated in regulations issued by the federal government, in addition to precedent law by the Board of Immigration Appeals, to ensure that refugee status is granted in accordance with our international and moral obligations.”

For more than 16 years, Tahirih has represented women who have fled domestic violence in their home countries in search of safety. But until this decision from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), immigration courts and adjudicators have applied the law in inconsistent ways, resulting in a wide disparity in the protection offered to survivors of domestic violence around the country, whether during border screenings or in appeals at the highest levels.

In its national policy advocacy, Tahirih continues to urge the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security to establish regulations that would protect women like Mireya from Guatemala, who was brutally beaten by her husband of 32 years.

Mireya told her attorney at Tahirih that she would have rather died than continue to suffer, and there was nowhere she would be safe in her own country. With Tahirih’s help, Mireya won asylum, but many women have not been so lucky.

Tahirih Justice Center works to protect immigrant women and girls seeking justice in the United States from gender-based violence. Leveraging both in-house and pro bono attorneys, we empower our clients to achieve justice and equality through holistic, direct legal services, and national public policy advocacy.

Tahirih experts are available to discuss this precedent-setting decision. Interested media may contact Tahirih Communications Manager Marlena Hartz at marlenah@tahirih.org or 571-282-6193.

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