A United States Justice Department’s board has approved granting asylum to domestic violence victims. The decision comes after a Guatemalan woman argued to stay in the States where she fled to escape her abusive husband in 2005.
According to the Associated Press, the woman had repeatedly contacted authorities in her home country who said they would not “interfere in her marriage” so she left for America. Here she was found and identified as an a illegal resident and was on the path toward deportation but she offered that the physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband and the Guatemalan police turning a blind eye should earn her asylum in the States. The Justice Department's Board of Immigration Appeals ruled that she can stay here and sent her case back to an immigration judge for a final ruling.
The ruling by the board that decides appeals from federal immigration courts is significant because it means that the government now recognizes domestic violence victims as a potentially protected class of people seeking refuge in the United States.
The decision establishes a broad and firm foothold for an untold number of women whose asylum claims have been routinely denied in the past.
According to statistics culled by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in 2013, Guatemala is ranked third in the world for the murder of women.