DHS To Consider Asylum Petitions By Battered Women
The New York Times reports on an important change in U.S. asylum policies:
Moving cautiously, the Department of Homeland Security did not immediately recommend asylum for the Mexican woman, who is identified in the court papers only by her initials as L.R. But the department, in the unusual submission written by senior government lawyers, concluded in plain terms that “it is possible” that the Mexican woman “and other applicants who have experienced domestic violence could qualify for asylum.”
As recently as last year, Bush administration lawyers had argued in the same case that in spite of her husband’s brutality, L.R. and other battered women could not meet the standards of American asylum law.
“This really opens the door to the protection of women who have suffered these kinds of violations,” said Karen Musalo, a professor who is director of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Professor Musalo has represented other abused women seeking asylum and recently took up the case of L.R.
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