Wednesday, July 1, 2015
The Arlington Immigration Court granted asylum to a woman from El Salvador escaping from an abusive relationship. The woman had suffered years of physical abuse at the hands of her partner, who even refused to acknowledge the paternity of their daughter. Cries to her family for help were met with responses such as, "you must have done something to deserve it," and "this is the man you chose to be with for life, you can't leave him." However, once the woman's father saw the scars and bruises left by the abuse, he changed his attitude and found money to help her make the treacherous journey across the United States border.
The toughest issue in the case was that the woman had waited more than a year to file her asylum application. U.S. immigration law requires that an asylum petition be filed within one year of entry unless there are changed or extraordinary circumstances. The years of abuse and lack of support from her family had caused this woman to suffer depression, which in turn made her avoidant and reluctant to relive her trauma. Only after meeting a caring man in the United States, who encouraged her to seek help did the woman realize that she could overcome her past and seek legal protection in the United States.
Now that asylum has been granted, the woman will file a petition to have her minor daughter in El Salvador join her.