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Winning Asylum Based on Gender


What Is Asylum?

Individuals fleeing their countries due to persecution may qualify for asylum under the “membership in a particular social group” theory. In particular, you may be eligible for asylum protection in the United States based on your gender or perceived gender. Unfortunately, “women who suffer domestic violence” in their home country is not enough to prove membership in a particular social group.

The Application Process

Instructions for filing a Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, can be found here. Any interested parties need to apply for asylum within 12 months of arriving in the United States. The only exception is if an applicant experiences a change of circumstances that affects their eligibility or they can “demonstrate extraordinary circumstances” for their delay. The defensive asylum process is available for people facing removal proceedings, and the affirmative asylum process is accessible for individuals who are not facing deportation.

Last year, the Asylum Division of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) stated that it would “give priority to the most recently filed affirmative asylum applications when scheduling asylum interviews” and not process them in the order they were received. This means that asylum cases that have been pending for years are still waiting to be processed.

Asylum Based on Gender

Sex has long been considered an “innate characteristic” upon which a social group claim may be based. Indeed, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has stated that “[W]omen [are] a clear example of a social subset defined by innate and immutable characteristics . . . and who are frequently treated differently than men.

In 1951, the United States signed the United Nations Convention Concerning the Status of Refugees, a treaty which laid out five grounds for asylum: race, religion, nationality, political opinion, and membership in a particular social group. One ground curiously missing from the treaty’s grounds for asylum is “gender.” Therefore, applicants seeking asylum on the basis of sex have decided to pursue claims under the “particular social group” ground. That said, it is important to understand that those seeking asylum based on gender must do more than show membership in the group; they must also demonstrate that they are specifically at risk because of such membership.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation Today

Asylum protection in the United States on the basis of gender is a notoriously difficult and constantly evolving area of asylum law. Having qualified immigration experts on your side is critical to a just resolution of your case. Contact the immigration attorneys at Yekrangi & Associates if you require legal guidance and assistance.

Contact Yekrangi & Associates at (949) 478-4963 to schedule a confidential case evaluation with our legal team.

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