Academic journal article Texas Journal of Women, Gender, and the Law

Paving the Way to Better Protection: Matter of A-R-C-G-

Academic journal article Texas Journal of Women, Gender, and the Law

Paving the Way to Better Protection: Matter of A-R-C-G-

Article excerpt

Introduction..........................................................................................152

I. Facts..............................................................................................153

II. Legal Background.....................................................................154

A. Basic Legal Framework..........................................................154

B. Making a Claim for Asylum Based on Membership in a Particular Social Group..........................................................155

1. Definition of "Persecution"................................................155

2. Definition of "Particular Social Group".............................155

III. Establishing a Sufficient Nexus Between the Persecution and Membership in the Particular Social Group.............................................................................................157

A. Proposed Regulations..............................................................157

B. Application of Particular Social Group Analysis to Gender-Based Claims for Asylum...........................................159

C. Matter of Kasinga....................................................................159

D. Matter of R-A-.........................................................................160

rv. Instant Decision..........................................................................162

V. Comment.......................................................................................164

Conclusion..............................................................................................166

Introduction

An estimated 7,669 women were murdered in Guatemala between the years 2000 and 20121-and Guatemala is by no means the only country where gendered violence against women is endemic.2 Women who have fled to the United States for safety from such violence have not been met with the warm, protective embrace one might expect from the country where the Statue of Liberty proudly invites: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free... I lift my lamp beside the golden door."3

Immigration Courts had failed to settle the matter of whether domestic violence qualifies as a basis for asylum until the recent decision of Matter of A-R-C-G-.4 The Board of Immigration Appeals (B.I.A.) cleared up some of the confusion with this precedent-setting case that will make it significantly easier for applicants to seek and gain asylum from persecution in the form of domestic violence.5 In Matter of A-R-C-G-, the BIA correctly held that married women who have been victims of domestic violence may qualify for asylum.6 This Comment will first discuss the facts and procedural history of Matter of A-R-C-G- -, second, it will explore the legal background for asylum claims based on domestic violence; third, it will review in detail the BIA's holding and the reasoning behind its conclusions; and finally, it will comment on the implications and limitations of the BIA's holding.

I. FACTS

The woman seeking asylum in Matter of A-R-C-G- is a Guatemalan woman who was married at the age of 17 and suffered "repugnant abuse" at the hand of her husband for years.7 He beat her weekly, raped her, and threw dangerous chemicals on her.8 During that time, she made numerous attempts to end the abuse or leave her husband.9 When she called the police, they came to the family's home, but they did not arrest the abuser.10 When she fled to her father's house, her abuser always came to get her." And when she finally fled to Guatemala City, he followed her and convinced her to return to him with false promises that the abuse would stop.12

The abuse resumed, however, and the respondent woman and her three children fled to the United States in 2005.13 They entered the country "without inspection," and when proceedings for "removal" were initiated against her, she applied for asylum. …

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