In a major victory for immigrant women, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a 19 year-old Mexican woman refugee status as a victim of domestic violence. Applicants for asylum must prove that they cannot return home because of persecution as membership in a particular social group, lack of protection from their county’s government and fear that persecution will resume upon return to their county.
Rosalba Aguirre-Cervantes and her lawyer, Reena Glazer successfully argued that Aguirre-Cervantes’ abusive father violently persecuted her family as a particular social group and would continue to abuse her if she returned to Mexico. They also argued that the Mexican government considers domestic violence a family matter and was “unwilling or unable” to protect her from persecution.
Last year, more than 1,000 of the 42, 000 asylum claims were from women who argued that their sex qualified as a persecuted class. As a result of this historic case, immigrant women living within the 9th Circuit jurisdiction (areas with high immigrant populations including CA and AZ) will be able to seek asylum as victims of domestic violence.