Briefcase: Asylum for Victims of Domestic Violence

Guest: Geoffrey Hoffman


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In June, the U.S. Attorney General overturned an appellate decision allowing asylum to an immigrant suffering from domestic violence. Geoffrey Hoffman, the Director of the UH Law Center Immigration Clinic, explains why this change is significant.

"Immigrants fleeing persecution will have a harder time being granted asylum in the U.S." Professor Hoffman said. "Both domestic and international law allow people to seek asylum, if they can prove that they are being persecuted at home on the basis of their race, political opinion, nationality, religion, or because of membership in a particular social group."

Hoffman says this could have an effect on victims of domestic violence. "The AG argued that these abused immigrants who base their claim on a particular social group, suffered at the hands of private actors, not as a direct governmental action," he continued. "Therefore, the AG held that immigrants need to show the government ‘condoned’ the violence or was unable to prevent it… a higher burden of proof than was formerly required."