Domestic Violence and Asylum

On June 16, 2021, the USCIS announced news regarding asylum decisions for victims of domestic violence. Back in 2017, victims of domestic violence were able to get asylum approval based on their “particular social group”.  Like the I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal Form says, the reason for seeking asylum is based on Race, Religion, Nationality, Political opinion, Membership in a particular social group. So, victims of domestic violence were considered a social group. 

The Trump Administration almost erased this path to obtaining asylum for those victims. These asylum seekers hired attorneys and provided evidence to prove their eligibility, and although it was a complicated process for them, they still had a chance. Now we have a partial step back to before the Trump Administration and the victims of domestic violence once again can apply for asylum. The Biden Administration will announce who qualifies for asylum under the social group. But the victims of domestic violence have already had a chance to apply.

Here is a statement from the USCIS Acting Director Tracy Renaud on Asylum Decisions: “We applaud the attorney general’s decisions today vacating two prior decisions that limited asylum eligibility for individuals fleeing violence perpetrated by domestic partners or on account of familial relationships in their home countries. We have advised our officers to no longer rely on the vacated decisions and are working to swiftly provide specific, comprehensive guidance to our workforce to align our policies with these decisions.”

“USCIS is committed to embracing our nation’s highest values by expanding legal migration pathways and administering humanitarian programs that allow for greater access to protection for eligible individuals.” (

Photo by Keira Burton

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