Asylum News 70

Attorney General Remands Case of Victim of Domestic Violence to the Board of Immigration Appeals Twelve years ago an immigration judge in San Francisco granted asylum to Rodi Alvarado, a Guatemalan woman who survived brutal domestic violence at the hands of her husband for over a decade. Ms. Alvarado repeatedly sought help from the police and courts but the Guatemalan government failed to protect her. In an effort to find safety, Ms. Alvarado fled Guatemala and sought asylum in the U.S. After twelve years, her asylum case remains unresolved due to government appeals, procedural complications, and the lack of regulations on gender-based asylum. For the last seven years Ms. Alvarado’s case has been on hold in the office of the Attorney General. However, on September 25, 2008, Attorney General Mukasey made an unexpected decision and remanded her case for reconsideration by the Board of Immigration Appeals where her case is now pending in Matter of R-A-, 24 I&N Dec. 629 (A.G. 2008). The results of a decision in Matter of R-A- may have a great impact on the future of asylum claims based on domestic violence, particularly in the absence of regulations related to gender-based asylum claims. See the recent decision here. See more on Matter of R-A- here. Material Support: Exemptions Will be Considered Only for Those With a Final Order On October 23rd the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the process it would be using to grant exemptions to individuals in removal proceedings who would otherwise be inadmissible under INA §212(a)(3)(B), the material support and terrorism related inadmissibility grounds (TRIG). DHS will consider a case for an exemption only after all other issues have been resolved in the case, including on appeal, and the order of removal is administratively final. This announcement applies to non-detained cases that have orders of removal that became administratively final on or after September 8, 2008, and to all detained cases, regardless of the date of the removal order. Click here to see the USCIS announcement. Bill introduced which addresses standards of immigration detention On October 3, 2008, Rep. Roybal-Allard (D-34th/CA) introduced HR 7255, the Immigration Oversight and Fairness Act of 2008. HR 7255 addresses the most prevalent issues in the immigration detention system by expanding options for release so that vulnerable migrant populations, including asylum seekers, are not detained unnecessarily and by requiring the Department of Homeland Security promulgate regulations to create legally enforceable detention standards so that those immigrant populations who must be detained have access to basic necessities such as adequate medical care, contact with legal counsel, and ability to attend religious services. This bill addresses a number of Human Rights First’s concerns related to the U.S. system of detaining asylum seekers. Read more on immigration detention here. The Marvin Frankel Annual Award Each year, Human Rights First honors the memory of Judge Marvin E. Frankel, a founding father of Human Rights First and former Chairman of our Board of Directors with an award in his name. On October 23, 2008, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP was given the award at HRF’s Annual Dinner. Attorneys at the firm have provided top quality pro bono legal representation to asylum seekers through the asylum representation program at Human Rights First for many years. They have demonstrated the ability to handle a number of complex asylum cases that have taken several years to resolve as well as cases for refugees who face particular challenges, such as immigration detention. Given Marvin Frankel’s history at the firm, HRF is particularly pleased to honor the firm with this award. Click here to read more about the Frankel Award.


Published on October 1, 2009


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